‘Moonlight’ Expanding to 1500 Screens, So Now You Have No Excuse
Did you see Moonlight, the Oscar-anointed Best Picture which also happens to be the actual best picture of the year? No? Why not? The common answers include “looked super sad” (accurate, but shouldn’t be a deterrent), “looked boring” (empirically incorrect), “couldn’t relate to it” (also empirically incorrect), “been busy lately” (get your priorities in order), and moreso than any other, “wasn’t playing near me.” That last one is hard to argue with, as A24’s October release did leave a lot of communities bereft of access to Moonlight. But as this film’s mass-marketability has become evident with high-profile Oscar wins and a $26 million gross on a budget of $1.5 million, A24 has smartly moved to spread the love.
The original theatrical run began in four theaters (all figures courtesy of Box Office Mojo), eventually peaking at 650 by mid-November. The distributor then scaled back until Oscar buzz began to build — Moonlight hit approximately 1,100 screens the week the nominations were announced, then hovered around 500 in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards. Today, Variety brings the news that, in light of the Best Picture win from Sunday night, A24 will push Moonlight to at least 1,500 theaters next week.
It’s a smart strategy — now, Moonlight can capitalize on the publicity of the headline-grabbing gaffe at a time when American audiences have had weeks and weeks to get wise to how good the film is. Spotlight did something similar last year following the Best Picture win, adding $4 million to its total grosses, and Moonlight stands to gain even more. On Twitter, there’s been a swell of grassroots support from low-income black communities not unlike the one in which the film is set; now, we’ll all get ample chance to watch (or re-watch) the movie as it was meant to be seen.