It’s not a new trick to put Oscar contenders that have mostly come and gone from the multiplex back into theaters this time of year. It can often help regain steam heading into the voting period or, better yet, rack up on extra box office dollars in the latter-year fog of awards season.
Today, Sony Classics and Sony Pictures each announced that Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and Paul Greengrass’ “Captain Phillips,” respectively, would be heading back to screens. Allen’s film, which features a Cate Blanchett performance that has been dominating on the critics circuit and may well win the Oscar, will re-release into 300 theaters this weekend, while Greengrass’ gripping account of Somali piracy off the coast of Africa starring Tom Hanks will expand into a whopping 1,000 theaters on January 15, just one day before the Oscar nominations.
The logic can be followed for both. While it’s nice that Blanchett is building so much steam in the precursors, and that Allen will likely be nominated yet again for his work on the page, “Blue Jasmine” is a film that could translate to Best Picture or Best Director recognition from the Academy. Dragging it back out just two weeks before Academy voting begins on Dec. 27 keeps it high on the radar.
In the case of “Captain Phillips,” the goal seems to be a box office bump from any nominations the film may receive the next day. And it signifies no lack of confidence that it will be well-represented, too, because 1,000 screens is nothing to sneeze at. The film already broke $100 million at the domestic box office and, as we’ve seen year after year (particularly with Weinstein players), Oscar nominations can bring a solid revenue injection for players still in the marketplace.
We’ll see if all that logic pans out.