“Success” in the film industry can mean a lot of different things. Critical acclaim and box office receipts often don’t line up. Sometimes, in fact, there’s a huge difference between how revered a film is and how much money it makes. Some Oscar winning films actually pulled in pretty low numbers. Here are some of the lowest grossing Oscar winners in Best Picture history.
The 1995 historical drama Braveheart starring Mel Gibson took in $75,545,647 at the North American box office, which isn’t that impressive (many blockbusters make more than that in one weekend). With a production budget of $72 million, it wasn’t a big financial hit. Worldwide ticket sales helped fill the coffers, especially after the film cleaned up at the awards shows. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and ended up taking five of them: Best Director, Best Picture, Best Makeup, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound Editing. The acclaimed film has been critiqued for not being historically accurate, though.
2. The Last Emperor
The Bernardo Bertulocci film The Last Emperor was only released in 877 movie theaters, and pulled in just $43,984,000 in the U.S. box office. It didn’t actually enter the top ten at the box office until it had been showing for eight weeks, which is quite unusual. The artsy biographical film eventually caught on and ended up winning all nine Oscars that it was nominated for: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Adapted Screenplay. It’s worth watching this almost 3 hour film, if you have the patience.
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