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Sully is Still the Undisputed Box Office Champ of Oscars 2017, with Arrival Closing In

Clint Eastwood has made Hollywood an astonishing amount of money over his long and successful career, both as an actor and as a director. Boxofficemojo, in fact, has his lifetime gross as an actor at $1,710,885,495, and as a director at $1,815,797,157, and as a producer at $1,412,529,226.

Sully cost $60 million and has made $124,845,085 million. The only film that comes even close to Sully that is being considered for Best Picture is Denis Villeneuve’s moody sci-fi Arrival, which cost $47 million and has made $87 million and counting. This matters because if you take these movies out of the Best Picture race, you’ve basically got movies that might get to $100 million after the Oscars if they’re lucky. La La Land is expected to perhaps get close to that.

We’ve long made the case here at AwardsDaily that big box office movies mean lots of people saw those movies and with critical acclaim to go along with them, putting them in the Oscar race is an inclusive thing to do. Why would you, necessarily, punish films for doing what they’re designed to do beyond the obvious artistic value?

Not that it matters, particularly, but it’s also always a good thing for the Oscar race itself to have movies people have actually seen heading into the ceremony. Why is it a good thing? Well it keeps the wheels greased, for better or worse. It means the whole thing is working better for everyone and not just a select niche group of people who decide these things.

The thing I personally love about Sully is that it’s what my friend David Carr would call a “movie movie,” meaning, it’s one of those big studio movies only studios can really make like that. Silence, by the way, is another. Arrival, I would argue, is still another. Hidden Figures and Fences qualify too. They don’t really fit in the world of critics awards and independent films but they should fit in the industry awards, and with the Oscars.  To me, the Oscar race is a better race when we honor the fine work the studios still do, because that encourages them to make more movies that lots of people will see.

Some of the other films, though, are really making a strong showing at the box office right now – and those include:

Manchester by the Sea is already at $15 million, which is impressive. La La Land is playing very well right behind it with $6 million in just 200 theaters.  Moonlight is at $11 million in only 300 theaters.  Hacksaw Ridge made a bundle with $63 million.

There is no question that the box office that dominates is still family fare, or stuff aimed at teens:

Finding Dory at $486 million
The Secret Life of Pets at $368 million
Zootopia at $341
Rogue One $190 million and counting
Moana $168 million and counting
Trolls at $148 million
Kubo and the Two Strings at $48 million