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Crash Cost $6.5 Million to Make; It's Oscar Campaign Was $4 Million - A Look at The High Cost of Gaining an Oscar

Oscar Economics 101
Lions Gate opens the books on 'Crash's' academy campaign.
James Bates - LA Times
February 12, 2006

It's appropriate that Oscars are gold, since winning one can make a fortune for talent or a studio. This column will look at the business of Hollywood's awards season, and what all that money being spent really buys. Send your ideas, comments, criticisms, tips and pontifications to James.Bates@latimes.com

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Thanks to Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and federal laws requiring companies to disclose meaningful developments to investors, we can all get a "Crash" course in Oscar economics.

Last week, Lions Gate (which recently decided to save space by referring to itself as Lionsgate) publicly disclosed to Wall Street that its profits will be crimped in 2006. One reason: the company is spending "an additional $2 million" to promote director Paul Haggis' "Crash" during the stretch run of the best picture race, which ends March 5 with the Academy Awards.

The operative word here is "additional." That's because it's double what the company had already spent to promote the movie for various awards. All told, Lions Gate is expected to spend $4 million to campaign for a film that only cost $6.5 million to make.

What's interesting about last week's corporate disclosure is that it may be the only time anyone has had to publicly own up to how much cash is being thrown around to buy Oscar votes.

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