Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, which won the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday, was a notable winner even beyond the bizarre circumstances of the announcement of its victory. It’s both the first LGBT-focused film and the first movie with an all-African-American cast to take Best Picture. And on top of that, it won the award with a mostly unknown cast and a director whose only previous credit was eight years earlier.
There’s another thing about Moonlight that differs from most films that win Best Picture: It was not a box office hit. In fact, with $22 million in earnings to date, it was the lowest-grossing of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, and the second lowest-grossing Best Picture winner in history, after 2009’s The Hurt Locker. But now, the many moviegoers who missed Moonlight the first time around — or those who loved it and want a second look — will have another chance to see it on the big screen.
Moonlight will be re-released in more than 1,500 theaters this week, distributor A24 announced, as reported by The Wrap. That nearly triples the screens the film played on last weekend. The film, which also won Oscars for Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay (by Jenkins, who adapted the play by Tarell Alvin McCraney) were also released on DVD and Blu-ray today.
It’s typical for films to have their releases expand upon a Best Picture win, although Moonlight’s expansion is larger than most, as the last two Best Pictures - Birdman in 2015 and Spotlight in 2016 - both expanded to about 1,200 screens. Moonlight was released back in October and despite nearly universal acclaim and near-constant mention as an Awards contender, it never gained a whole lot of box office traction at any point in the fall.
The news of the expanded release is good, largely because Moonlight’s gorgeous cinematography is best experienced on the big screen. A24 is clearly betting that curiosity following the Oscars, especially its controversial finish, will get audiences in to finally check out Moonlight in the theater.
The question is, will audiences who avoided Moonlight through all that acclaim and all the Oscar nominations it earned, finally take the plunge just because it won Best Picture? After-the-fact efforts such as this, after all, have mixed records of success.
Moonlight expands to 1,500 screens starting Friday, March 3; it’s currently available in digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray.
Source: The Wrap