Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed Lady Bird has passed Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight to become the highest-grossing film in the history of A24. The latter triumphed at the Oscars last year with a somewhat surprising (and controversial) Best Picture win. The former, meanwhile, looks poised to be one of the top contenders at next March’s Academy Awards, especially for Gerwig and stars Saorise Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. Lady Bird will go down as one of the best-reviewed films in the history of Rotten Tomatoes with only one “rotten” review and a transcendent 99 percent score.
A24 is on a roll in recent years, churning out a string of critically celebrated films created by some of the industry’s most distinctive new voices. Lady Bird leads the way in 2017, but the company also distributed James Franco’s The Disaster Artist and Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. The company doesn’t exactly deal with blockbusters, but with Lady Bird it can say it’s achieved a new level of commercial success.
Fresh data from Box Office Mojo reveals that Lady Bird has passed Moonlight to become A24’s new highest-grossing picture. It passed $28.3 million, compared to $27.8 million for the latter. Lady Bird can expect more success moving forward; it hasn’t yet had a full international release. Moonlight saw a 227 percent increase in box office revenue the weekend after winning Best Picture, so it will be interesting to see what some potential awards success would do for Lady Bird.
Although $28 million is a relatively modest box office total, THR reported in November that Lady Bird’s production budget was under $10 million. Simply passing $30 million would make the film a legitimate box office success, despite never being released in more than 1,557 theaters.
Gerwig’s directorial debut could not be going greater for the veteran actress, as Lady Bird has already won several smaller “Best Picture” awards and landed four Golden Globe nominations with Oscar noms likely to follow. Metcalf will be the odds-on favorite to win Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson’s mother Marion. Now, the tightly-budgeted film can call itself a commercial triumph as well.
It remains to be seen if Lady Bird will also be a big winner at the Oscars beyond Metcalf, so there’s no guarantee that it will have the same kind of box office spike that Moonlight got when it earned its own high-profile Best Picture victory. Still, the film is in the early stages of its box office earning potential, so it has a great chance to set a big new standard for A24 at the ticket counter.
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