Oscar Impact: Artist, French Silent, Benefits from Best Picture Oscar Win

What’s the cash value of winning the top Oscar, Best Picture?

“The Artist,” the black-and-white silent Oscar-winner moved into the top 10 chart for the first time since opening in select theaters 15 weeks ago, grossing $3.9 million for a domestic cumulative of $37.1 million. The Best Picture winner was up 34 percent from the previous weekend.

The Weinstein Company planned all along to hold back from going wide until after the Oscar Awards. Over the weekend, the film aggressively upped its theater count from 966 locations to 1,756.

“This is within the range of what we expected. This film is a slow burn,” Weinstein Co. president of distribution Erik Lomis said.

Lomis and Weinstein Co. chief operating officer David Glasser said The Artist did solid business in the new markets where it opened, but that it always takes time for the film to catch on, considering its genre.

The company believes “The Artist” can ultimately gross $45 million to $50 million in North America. The film isn’t comparable to previous Oscar winners including last year’s The King’s Speech,” also released by Weinstein, which had already grossed north of $115 million by the time of the Academy Awards.

The Oscar bump is now felt overseas as well. In France, The Aritst” grossed $1.8 million over the weekend for a market cume of $20 million (the film was essentially at the end of its run at the time of the Academy Awards).

Costing Wild Bunch an ultra- modest budget $16 million to produce, “The Artist” has earned north of $45 million at the international box office.

Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin had a banner weekend all the way around in his home country. His new comedy “Les Infideles” (“The Players”) debuted to a strong $7.2 million.