Traditionally, there are two types of films, those that win awards and those that make money. Big-budget summer blockbusters that set box office records are rarely nominated for major awards beyond occasionally technical achievements and frequently award-winning movies have much smaller audiences. However, A Star is Born appears to be bucking that trend. In addition to being expected to compete for many major awards, it’s also made $100 million in less than two weeks.
While the box office take for Bradley Cooper‘s A Star is Born may not put it in the same conversation with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the numbers for a film of its type are more than solid. Especially considering the movie cost something in the neighborhood of $36 million to make, a domestic box office take of $101 million, with another $42 million globally, makes the movie a bonafide hit financially as well as critically.
The fact that the sorts of films that tend to be nominated for awards aren’t the movies that people go to see en masse has long been a known issue in Hollywood. Recently, the Oscars contemplated instituting a new category that would give “blockbuster” films their own category to win. Of course, the other way to make awards shows more interesting to viewers is if the movie that’s going to be nominated for the existing award is already popular, and A Star is Born clearly is.
By comparison, First Man, a film that, by virtue of its subject matter, should have a somewhat broad appeal, has made less than $20 million in nearly a week of release.
As Deadline points out, A Star is Born does have a good story that works well from a PR standpoint. It’s the directorial debut of a popular actor in Bradley Cooper. Plus, it’s got Lady Gaga playing very much against the character she had crafted for herself up to this point. It’s the sort of thing that intrigues an audience, which may be at least part of the reason the movie is hitting so well.
Of course, box office success is no guarantee that the awards will come. Last year’s highest grossing Best Picture nominee at the Oscars, which made nearly $200 million domestically, was Dunkirk. It was beaten out by The Shape of Water which barely did $60 million in North America.
The other thing that makes A Star is Born do so well is that it has very little that really competes with it. While Venom has beaten it at the box office each of the last two weekends, the fact is that the two films largely cater to different audiences. Venom isn’t going to take away from the crowd that might see A Star is Born in any large way. This weekend’s Halloween is equally unlikely to steal any of Lady Gaga’s thunder, meaning that A Star is Born clearly isn’t done putting up the numbers. Then we’ll wait and see if it can add the awards.