Specialty Box Office: ‘Theory Of Everything’ And ‘Birdman’ Prove The Power Of Oscar Buzz, Will Michael Keaton And Eddie Redmayne Faceoff In The Best Actor Category?

Most box office reports are limited to blockbusters and major studio releases, but indie film box office numbers often highlight the ability of actors, critics, and word of mouth to create demand for otherwise unheard of movies.

The current specialty box office contains two Oscar contenders, “Theory of Everything” which stars Eddie Redmayne and “Birdman” which stars Michael Keaton.

As the two films go head to head in the specialty box office, could it hint at how the actors might fare against each other in Best Actor Category in the upcoming Oscars?

“We are very, very pleased,” said Focus Features’ head of distribution Jim Orr Sunday morning (via Deadline).

“It’s resonating with audiences and the [exit] surveys we conducted showed that [the film] played very well across all demographics.

It has outstanding performances with great direction by James Marsh.

I believe the performances, the film itself and the director will be getting Academy attention.” In fact, “Theory of Everything” had particularly a $208K opening weekend, which allowed for a $41K per-theater-average according to Deadline .

This number was likely bolstered by amazing performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

Not to mention that Stephen Hawking himself supports the adaptation.

“Birdman” however had an even stronger start.

Box Office Mojo reports that the magical realism satire made $424K in its opening weekend with a $106K per-theater-average.

Given that “Birdman” is one of the only films that analysts predict will absolutely garner a Best Picture nomination in January.

Moreover, Indiewire also predicts that Michael Keaton is the frontrunner in the Best Actor category.

But could break out star Eddie Redmayne pull off an upset? The general trend in acting category tends to skew toward older more experienced actors but sometimes (as Matthew McConaughey demonstrated last year) underdog performances are rewarded with the golden statue.

Whatever the case may be, both Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton will have plenty of other competition in the form of other breakout stars this year, including Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”).

“Theory of Everything” and “Birdman” are both available in theaters everywhere.


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