From Green Book to Roma, is it a good business for Oscar films to be shown in Cinema?

Although more than two months have passed since this year's Oscars, the aura of the Oscars at home cannot be ignored: after the Green Paper and the Bohemian Rhapsody, Roma, which won the best director award, will also go online tomorrow


Roma will show


While offline theaters have continuously introduced Oscar films, online streaming media platforms have long been scraping their hands. "the shorter the release after the Oscars, the more conducive to the release of the film, but also gives the film the possibility of a breakthrough at the box office, which will be an industry trend." Zhang Jin, CEO of Joy Pictures, which introduced "Roma", told (ID:youhaoxifilm)

In fact, with the exception of this year's Green Paper, Oscar films have not performed well in the Chinese market in the past. Judging from the current box office performance and audience reputation of Oscar-winning films in China, the market is still full of confidence in the Oscars. Whether it is online competition, or offline purchase of films, domestic theaters, the power of Oscar-winning films, will it be a long-term good business?

From offline to online: accelerate the introduction of Oscar films

Before and after the Oscars season, the release of award-winning films while the iron is hot in China is not new. 

In the first 20 years of 2017, only seven Oscar best films were released in the domestic cinema, not only a small number, but also not timely in terms of the speed of introduction, often with the end of the Oscars and the second year that domestic audiences can see them in cinemas. Oscar best films such as the King's Speech in 2011 and the Artist in 2012, most of them have to wait less than two or three months or six months before they can meet with domestic audiences for as much as a year.

In 2017, with the development and progress of the film approval business of domestic film and television companies, a group of practitioners who have seen Oscar charm begin to seek a breakthrough in the release time of the film. In 2017, on February 14, before the Oscars, the nominated films were La La Land released in time for Valentine's Day in China, while five films, including Manchester by the Sea, were released in China before and after the Oscars. Last year, four films, including the Shape of Water and Three Billboards, also landed in the domestic cinema line, until this year's Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody and Roma release, Oscar films in the country to the speed of arrival in the cinema, in recent years has been accelerating.


Green Book

Although the pace of introduction is improving, Oscar films rarely have highlights at the box office. At a time when domestic audiences are still buying commercial blockbusters, in addition to blockbusters such as Avatar, Titanic and Wild Hunter, Oscar-winning films such as Artist and A Separation tend to take only millions at the box office, with only a few films such as Les Miserables and War Horse winning tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

The Green Book, released within a week of winning the prize, breaks the law that it is difficult for niche literary and art films to get high box office. Although it grossed only 25.14 million on its first day of release, not much different from 21.81 million on its first day of release, which was also the Oscar Best Picture last year, the Green Book grossed more than 40 million on the second day of release and 110 million in the first three days of release, nearly double the box office of the Shape of Water in the same period, thanks to the spread of word-of-mouth. In the end, 478 million of the box office results made the Green Book the most popular Oscar Best Picture in recent years.


The domestic box office of Oscar best films over the year

Bohemian Rhapsody also achieved good results this year. Both Oscar-winning biographical films, the King's Speech in 2011 and Iron Lady in 2012 grossed less than 7 million, while Bohemian Rhapsody 98.6 million grossed more than a dozen times more than it was seven or eight years ago. Behind this growth, in addition to the expansion of the market, the diversity of audience viewing tastes and interest in art films, its choice to be shown on the national art film screening alliance line is also an important reason why the film can achieve high box office-the emergence of new screening channels, so that Oscar niche films in the box office to have their own place in the new changes.

After the box office began to increase, the competition for Oscar films by domestic film and television companies is also very fierce. Since most purchases of Oscar-winning films do not occur after the film is awarded, the closeness of the relationship with foreign head filmmakers often determines the chance to get the first film-close relationships can be finalised before the screenplay is completed, while buyers who have no access to the door take more than a year to negotiate with the film. Zhang Jin told poisonous eyes that the decision to choose "Rome" had been made two years ago, although at the time he had received only information about the film, such as "the director's personal story" and "black and white art film", which did not seem to sell well.


The Choice of Roma was made two years ago

Once you win an Oscar-winning film, domestic copyright parties tend to take immediate action to approve, file and release the film in order to take advantage of the popularity of the Academy Awards season to help the film. At present, the label of "Oscar" still plays a great role in promoting the high box office of the film in the industry. The curiosity of the ordinary audience and the expectation of the fans can often contribute to the breakthrough in the box office of the film.

As a result, the ability to bet Oscar films is a big test for buyers. As Oscar's choice of films has become more and more skewed from mainstream commercial films to niche art films in recent years, domestic parties have also become aware of the Oscar niche film market. Ali Pictures, the producer of the Green Book, has said that Chinese audiences are becoming more and more diverse in aesthetics, experience and preferences, and are no longer limited to watching the same type of movies. "early audiences will be attracted to visual blockbusters, but after watching too much, they will slowly return to what really resonates with the mind." It is also true that in recent years, some of the relatively small Oscar films have had the opportunity to get good box office results in China.

In addition to the fierce offline competition, online video sites also pay more attention to Oscar films.

As early as the day before the 86th Oscars in 2014, the potato video announced the online copyright of the Dallas Buyers Club, which nominated six awards; in 2017, iqiyi also bet on the Oscar-winning films Moonlight and La La Land which were broadcast on the platform. By 2018, after the Oscars were announced, Youai Teng had released almost at the same time its upcoming Oscar films, including 16 Youku, 18 iqiyi and 11 Tencent (both unicast and non-unicast).


Oscar special page in Youku, iQIYI

In previous interviews, iqiyi has publicly said that he has signed long-term cooperation agreements with Foss Film Company, Lion Gate Film and so on, and will obtain copyright in the broadcast of works by a number of head film companies. Several other video platforms are not willing to show weakness, for films that have been included in advance, once the Oscar list is announced, successful platforms tend to publish the list as soon as possible to capture the attention of users.

Is Oscar a good business offline?

Although Oscar films are being released faster and faster in China and are beginning to make breakthroughs at the box office, there are not many Oscar films with high box office in the past history.

From the box office of the King's Speech in 6.48 million and the Best Picture of 2012 Artist 4.24 million, the Oscar Best Picture awards tend to underperform in the domestic market because of subject matter constraints and the existence of viewing barriers; other awards, such as Django Unchained and Les Misérables, which won the 85th Academy Awards in 2013, grossed only 17.88 million and 63.05 million at the box office. Such a bleak box office receipts, coupled with a lot of publicity expenses, for many weak buyers still need to think twice.


The box office of Les Misérables is only 63.05 million

However, since most buyers have already included the film before the nomination, few of them have gone up with the award. Some practitioners told poisonous eyes that the current market for Oscar films is still relatively calm, and that although the price of the film has risen in the past few years, the overall situation is still in a rational stage. "as long as you can bet correctly, it is still not difficult for Oscar films to recover costs and make a profit at home."

In Zhang Jin's view, from the point of view of the audience, the Oscar, as an award with a high degree of attention all over the world, is still attractive to the public: "the average audience still recognizes the Oscar, and compared with many films, the Oscar-winning film is still 'advanced' and attractive to many viewers in China," Zhang Jin told the eyes. "the identity of the Oscar-winning film is still 'advanced' and attractive to many viewers in China." At present, it is a kind of increase at the domestic box office. "

In the past, after the audience was bombed by commercial blockbuster for a long time and produced aesthetic fatigue, some Oscar minority films coincided with the needs of rich and growing pluralistic viewing, and also provided a guarantee for the box office of this kind of films. In addition, the construction of the art film screening line is gradually improving, providing a fixed, long-term screening place for the art film, in order to avoid the squeeze of commercial blockbuster, which also makes some Oscar films have room for survival to another extent. Therefore, some people in the industry believe that in the current market environment, the purchase of Oscar films is still a relatively high value for money business.

But this does not mean that with the "Oscar" add-on is foolproof, the risk can still not be ignored.

Oscar films are often bought as batches, often unable to escape the rising market, "the three monks have no water to eat" the status quo. In Dangal . After the success of films such as Dad in China, more and more buyers have entered the market and bought foreign language films at high prices, resulting in a tenfold increase in the price of some overseas films in a year. There have been media reports that in the Cannes Film Festival trading market, some domestic film and television companies snapped up the price of films, some films did not even see the buy-out, resulting in chaos in the market order.



For the film approval business, how to bet Oscar films is not easy. Some practitioners told poisonous eyes that there are often some companies that have bought more than a dozen films, only one nominated for the Oscars, and even the phenomenon of "no harvest" in awards, and when and how to advertise these films is a thorny problem, especially when the approval market is not in good shape and the cost of approving films is gradually rising. Batches hit in hand and fail to recover costs often occur.

It is understood that at present, most film and television companies in the purchase of films on how to select Oscar "potential target" do not have clear ideas and methods, but more like a "gamble." Zhang Jin admitted, "in addition to the experience of previous projects, the research on the types of Oscar-winning films and the process of collective evaluation, the criteria for film selection often rely on subjective feelings and intuition." Although many buyers with practical experience have found out the Oscar's "routine", they still have to rely on experience and personal experience to feel the "algorithm" of this pattern.

Another risk of the gamble is that there are plenty of cases where you bought a film and won an Oscar, but you can't show it in the country. As early as 2013, media reported that Midnight in Paris, which won the 84th Academy Award for Best original Screenplay, was bought by mainland Chinese companies in 2011, but so far there has been no news of its release. And some industry insiders revealed that in recent years, there are a number of Oscar-winning popular films, in the domestic strict censorship system has little access to the big screen-films can not be released, the box office income is often not enough to cover the cost of procurement, there is "Oscar blood" movies in the domestic is not a fully safe choice.


Midnight in Paris

Not only that, how to achieve a breakthrough in the promotion of Oscar films, will bring more viewers closer to the cinema, but also test the ability of domestic film companies. For ordinary audiences outside the first and second tier cities, Oscar films are attractive, but there are also certain barriers to watching, such as Manchester by the Sea, The Breadwinners and other films, once unable to effectively sink, it is difficult to achieve a breakthrough at the box office. Behind the nearly 500 million box office of Green Book, it is also due to its main domestic film "approachable" propaganda strategy, emphasizing that this is an easy humor, about friendship film, in order to achieve the sinking of the film.

Perhaps the success of Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody at the box office will give Oscar films a halo of performance at home, but under a risky "gamble", the follow-up to the Oscar buying business is not as easy as expected. "it's definitely not that you can bet on Oscar when you see it. No one can make that bet. Or back to the original heart, back to why to do this film, whether the story is touching, whether it is worth considering. " Zhang Wei, president of Ali Pictures, said in an interview with the media, including poisonous eyes.

Original: Editing assistant Du mou

Selected from:From Green Book to Roma, is it a good business for Oscar films to be shown in Cinema?