Oscar favorite 12 Years a Slave, like several Best Picture nominees before it, boasts an impressive financial profile. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains in the following video.
Based on the real-life memoir of a black man born free and then forced into slavery, 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup and is up for 9 Oscars in the following categories:
- Best Picture
- Best Director (Steve McQueen)
- Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor)
- Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender)
- Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o)
- Best Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley)
- Best Achievement in Editing
- Best Achievement in Art Direction
- Best Achievement in Costume Design
Online betting sites say the film is the favorite to win Best Picture. If they're right, it would be a boon for studio Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Last year's winner, Argo, went on to add another 4.7% to its domestic gross -- and that's despite a mid-October 2012 general release for the film. All told, Argo grossed $232.3 million worldwide for studio distributor Time Warner (NYSE:TWX).
Fox hasn't been as financially fortunate with 12 Years a Slave. Yet that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you consider that the film cost just $20 million to make -- less than half of what Warner spent on Argo -- while earning $49.3 at the U.S. box office. Nearly 21% of that came after the Academy named 12 Years a Slave to its "Best Picture" list, Box Office Mojo reports.
Worldwide, 12 Years a Slave has earned $128.2 million as of this writing. Taking half that to account for theater operators' cut of the gross puts Fox's share at $64.1 million. Add $20 million in marketing and distribution to Fox's $20 million production budget and Tim says you're still left with a solidly profitable Oscar contender that, like Argo, could enjoy an extended stay in theaters.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. How do you rate 12 Years a Slave'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 Fox stock at current prices.