Best Picture Winners That Made the Least Amount of Money

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Winning the Oscar for Best Picture at the Academy Awards can financially benefit a movie at the box office. Moviegoers are often interested in what has been declared the best movie of the year, and studios may extend the movies’ release or re-release them.

The award does not guarantee that a movie is, or will become, a blockbuster, however. And many Best Picture winners ultimately perform rather modestly at the box office.

In recognition of the 92nd Academy Awards, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, and airing live on ABC, 24/7 Tempo has identified the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners in Oscars history, based on inflation-adjusted domestic box office figures from movie industry data site The Numbers.

Whereas the average adjusted domestic box office gross for all Best Picture winners for which data is available is $245.6 million, the movies included here all took in less than $100 million while in theaters.

Some Best Picture winners captivate both the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the public at large. These movies may make more money than most others; one Best Picture winner, in fact, has made more than all others over the years. Here are the top-grossing movies of all time.

Despite their artistic merit, the less prosperous winners obviously appeal to far fewer moviegoers. Many of these movies have been released in the past decade, stalling at the box office while non-Oscar winners break records. Others are much older and simply reflect a time when fewer people went to the movies.

While some of the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners may be less mainstream than their more successful counterparts, they generally feature Hollywood’s top talent working both in front of and behind the camera. These actors, directors, and others are sometimes audience favorites, even if they don’t always sell tickets. These are the most popular Oscar winners of all time.

 

To identify the lowest-grossing Best Picture winners in Oscars history, 24/7 Tempo determined the domestic box office gross for each of the 92 Best Picture winners in Academy Award history for which data was available.

All domestic box office figures were provided by movie industry data site The Numbers. In order to provide a fairer comparison, 24/7 Tempo adjusted all box offices figures to account for inflation using the personal consumption expenditure price index (PCEPI).