I think it is safe to say that this year's Academy Awards ceremony will go down in infamy within the Hollywood history books. As a result of a massive backstage mix-up, La La Land won Best Picture -- until it suddenly didn't. The evening ended with a wave of confusion as Moonlight was rightfully handed the award that it actually earned, and the next few days were spent talking (and creating memes) about that insane mix-up. However, it is now beginning to look like all of that talk about the Best Picture mistake may cost Moonlight millions at the box office.
A new Metro report suggests the distinct possibility that the recent Oscar flub is actually working against Moonlight right now. Although Barry Jenkins' Best Picture winner should be enjoying a nice resurgence in popularity and relevance due to its big win, the film has been "swallowed up" by the Oscar controversy. Most Best Picture winners go on to see a bump in earnings (from ticket sales or DVD sales) due to the good press of winning the highly coveted Oscar, but that's not happening this time around for Moonlight. In layman's terms: in the process of talking about how Moonlight won (and, how La La Land lost), people have stopped talking about Moonlight itself.
This dip in potential box office earnings is nothing to take lightly. Despite all of its strong critical accolades, Moonlight actually had the weakest overall box office performance of any 2017 Best Picture nominee -- only garnering roughly $25.3 million. The film was financially profitable, as it was produced on a relative shoestring budget of $1.5 million, but every dollar goes a long way towards getting more movies like this made in the long run.
Just look at the competition to see how that works. La La Land actually garnered a $396 million worldwide gross during its time in theaters, and people have started taking the idea of a modern musical much more seriously as a result. Despite the prestige of winning an Oscar, show business is still a business, and Moonlight needs every last dime that it can squeeze out of this phenomenal PR win.
Of course, there's a bittersweet irony to this situation that most people have undoubtedly picked up on by now. In addition to the fact that it's a wonderful film that stands on its own merit, Moonlight's big win should represent a significant victory for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. As the story of a young, gay, black man trying to find his way in life, the film is a far cry from films that typically win Best Picture and a clear step forward when it comes to The Academy making more progressive award choices. With that in mind, if you have not seen Moonlight yet, do yourself a favor and seek it out; it is worth it if you want to see more films like this make it to The Oscars.
CinemaBlend will bring you more information related to Moonlight (as well as the fallout of the Best Picture mistake) as more details related to this situation become available to us.