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Which Awards-Bait Movies Are Actually Making Money?

Courtesy of Miramax, Weinstein Co, Focus Features, New Line

Now that Will Smith has saved the fall box office from completely collapsing, it’s worth looking back at this year’s awards-bait movies in an attempt to figure out if any of the little, indie-ish films have made any money. Could any of them become the kinds of Little Miss Sunshine–esque breakout hits that keep studio indies alive and kicking?

Well, probably not. The upscale box office is as depressed as the popular box office; for every No Country for Old Men, which seems primed to become the Coen brothers’ biggest hit to date (beating O Brother, Where Art Thou?), there are a half-dozen Margot at the Weddings or Lions for Lambses — movies that have disappointed. With the final three big awards movies of the year, There Will Be Blood, Charlie Wilson’s War, and Sweeney Todd, opening in the next week, it’s a fine time to take a look and see how the public has responded to a fall full of depressing drama. After the jump, our breakdown of which movies are still on the rise, which can already be declared flops, and which were dead before they even opened.

All figures from the invaluable Box Office Mojo. Key: Title: Box office to date (Days in release, Widest release)

Certifiable hits
No Country for Old Men: $33.4 million (38 days, 1,348 theaters)

Possible hits in the making
Atonement: $2.9 million (10 days, 117 theaters)
Juno: $2.1 million (12 days, 40 theaters)
The Kite Runner: $471,000 (3 days, 35 theaters)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: $257,000 (17 days, 3 theaters)

Just barely solid performers
Gone Baby Gone: $20.1 million (59 days, 1,713 theaters)
Into the Wild: $16.5 million (87 days, 660 theaters)

In trouble
I’m Not There: $2.6 million (26 days, 149 theaters)
The Savages: $531,000 (19 days, 10 theaters)

Lions for Lambs: $14.8 million (38 days, 2,216 theaters)
The Darjeeling Limited: $11.5 million (79 days, 698 theaters)
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: $5.8 million (52 days, 321 theaters)
Lust, Caution: $4.4 million (80 days, 143 theaters)
Margot at the Wedding: $1.4 million (31 days, 121 theaters)

Rendition: $4.0 million (28 days, 2,250 theaters)
Starting Out in the Evening: $347,000 (24 days, 43 theaters)
Southland Tales: $273,000 (33 days, 63 theaters)
Redacted: $65,000 (31 days, 15 theaters)
Grace Is Gone: $31,000 (10 days, 7 theaters)

Which Awards-Bait Movies Are Actually Making Money?