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Why this year's post-Oscar sales bump is unlikely to be huge for the best picture winner

An Oscars winner's envelope is seen in a souvenir store outside the Dolby Theatre before the 91st Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, February 14, 2019.

The winner of the prestigious best picture award at this year's Oscars will get a bump at the box office — but it probably won't be huge.

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Following their respective nominations in January, "Black Panther," "BlacKkKlansman," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "The Favourite," "Green Book," "A Star Is Born" and "Vice" all resurfaced at cinemas, with theater owners hoping to capitalize on the buzzworthy films. "Roma," a Netflix film, was the only feature that did not get a big screen re-release.

Since their relaunch, six of the seven films have made money at the box office, with "Black Panther" riding a wave of moviegoers that flocked to free screenings in honor of Black History Month. Thus far, "Green Book" has had the biggest haul of the group, taking in $24.5 million after its nomination. "Bohemian Rhapsody" earned an additional $9.7 million, while "The Favourite" took in $8.4 million and "Vice" cored $6.8 million.

However, evidence suggests the coveted "Oscar bump" is likely only incremental. Since 2013, no best picture winner has made more than $7 million at the box office after hoisting up the Oscar.

"Roma" and "Black Panther," if Disney continues its free screenings after the ceremony, won't haul in anything more at the box office. The rest of the nominees could still see a trickle effect if their name is called.

The additional box office earnings that a film receives depends on a number of factors, and some films get a bigger bump than others. Audiences are often swayed to see a movie based on how much media attention it is getting, or if the film previously had a more limited distribution.

Those reasons make it difficult to predict exactly how much more money a film will make at the box office each year, if it gets a nomination. The same can be said for whoever takes home the big prize.

"The Shape of Water," last year's winner, hit theaters in early December and went on to earn $30 million by the time it was nominated in late January, according to Comscore data. The nomination and redistribution in theater helped the film earn another $33 million, $6.2 million of which came after it won the top award.

The 91st annual Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday night.

CNBC

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