2013 Best Picture Nominees: What ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Means to Viacom, Inc.

Eight times the Academy has nominated Martin Scorsese for achievement in directing, yet he's only won once. Will The Wolf of Wall Street bring his second Oscar? Sources: Facebook, Paramount Pictures.

Even if Martin Scorsese wins his second Oscar for directing The Wolf of Wall Street, it still may not be enough to make the film box-office profitable for Viacom,'s (NASDAQ: VIAB  ) Paramount Pictures. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains why in the following video.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio as stockbroker-turned-crook Jordan Belfort, Box Office Mojo places The Wolf of Wall Street in the "True Crime" category alongside such films as DreamWorks' Catch Me If You Can (2002), Universal's American Gangster (2007), and Public Enemies (2009).

Interestingly, Catch Me If You Can also stars DiCaprio and is the genre's top earner. The Wolf of Wall Street ranks third on Box Office Mojo's list, and is up for five Oscars:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Martin Scorsese)
  • Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter)

The nods helped at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, The Wolf of Wall Street earned 27.8% of its $113.2 million in U.S. grosses following its nomination to the "Best Picture" list. Worldwide, the film has earned $338.7 million in grosses through nine weeks in theaters.

Yet it may not be enough. Paramount spent an estimated $100 million to produce the film. Figure another $100 million for marketing and distribution and The Wolf of Wall Street needed at least $200 million in gross profit to break box office even. Instead, the film appears to still be more than $30 million in the red after accounting for cinemas' 50% cut of box office proceeds. Expect Paramount's accountants to be sitting at the edge of the studio couch come Oscar night.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate The Wolf of Wall Street's chances at the Oscars? Did you see the film? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take and then leave a comment to let us know where you stand, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Viacom stock at current prices.

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  • Report this Comment On March 02, 2014, at 9:42 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    'Morning all,

    While Paramount Pictures is its own studio that produces a wide variety of projects in-house, for 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' four companies shared various elements of production:

    * Red Granite Pictures

    * Appian Way (Leonardo DiCaprio's production company)

    * Sikelia Productions

    * EMJAG Productions

    IMDB lists Paramount as the film's U.S. theatrical distributor, so it's fair to presume that the company spent a good chunk of the estimated $100 million for marketing and distribution. ('The Wolf of Wall Street' went to 2,557 U.S. theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.) Paramount should still benefit financially if 'Wolf' brings home a handful of statuettes.

    Thanks for bearing with me as we strive to continually improve our reporting on the business of entertainment.

    Foolish best,



    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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