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2013 Best Picture Nominees: What ‘Captain Phillips’ Means to Sony Corporation

By Tim Beyers – Mar 1, 2014 at 9:14AM

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A win for the six-time nominee could mean the difference between break-even and meaningful profits for Sony Corporation.

Bakhad Abdi had never had an acting job before Captain Phillips. This weekend, he's one of a handful of nominees for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Sources: Facebook, Sony.

In Captain Phillips, Sony Corporation (SONY 0.95%) has an artistic success that's also on the verge of a financial breakout, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Starring Tom Hanks in an adaptation of the real-life story of former merchant marine Richard Phillips and featuring nominated first-time actor Bakhad Abdi, Box Office Mojo places Captain Phillips primarily in the "Hostage" category alongside such films as Air Force One (1997), Time Warner's Argo (2012), and Twenty-First Century Fox's Speed (1994).

Interestingly, Argo won three of the seven categories in which was nominated last year, including Best Picture. Captain Phillips is up for six Oscars in the following categories: 

  • Best Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray)
  • Best Achievement in Editing
  • Best Achievement in Sound
  • Best Achievement in Sound Editing

You'd think the buzz would fuel a post-nomination surge. Trouble is, the film opened in early October, three months prior to the Academy's unveiling. Captain Phillips saw only a 1.8% bump at the U.S. box office as a result. Worldwide, the film grossed $217.7 million.

A strong total, Tim says, but also just short of box office profitability. Warner spent an estimated $55 million to produce this contender. Figure another $55 million for marketing and distribution and Captain Phillips needed at least $110 million in gross profit to break even on theater screenings. Instead, after accounting for cinemas' 50% cut, the film appears to have come just shy at $108.9 million. A good showing Sunday might push Captain Phillips -- and backer Sony -- over the top.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate Captain Phillips' 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 Sony stock at current prices.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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