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‘Oppenheimer’ Paid Most on National TV Ads Among 2024 Oscars Best Picture Nominees — While Three Films Spent $0

Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” epic biopic — the frontrunner to win the best picture Oscar on Sunday — was the biggest spender among this year’s 10 films nominated in the category.

According to data from TV and streaming ad measurement firm iSpot, ads for “Oppenheimer” led the field among 2024 Oscars best picture nominees, with $25.7 million in estimated national TV media value from Jan. 1, 2023-Feb. 29, 2024. The Universal Pictures movie was a critical and commercial success, banking $958 million at the box office worldwide.

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But three of this year’s best picture nominees didn’t advertising on national linear TV in the U.S. at all: “Past Lives,” “The Zone of Interest” and “Anatomy of a Fall.” In addition, those three films had minimal TV ad impressions on streaming platforms, according to iSpot.

Of course, the amount of movie marketing dollars spent on traditional TV networks — which is aimed at driving butts into theater seats, rather than wooing Academy voters — hasn’t been a good predictor of which film will win the top prize at the Academy Awards. In fact, 2023 best picture winner “Everything Everywhere All At Once” from A24 didn’t air any ads on national linear TV, either, per iSpot. Apple spent less than $7 million promoting “CODA,” the best picture winner in 2022, although much of that came after the film’s Oscars win.

After “Oppenheimer,” the next biggest TV ad budget among this year’s Oscars best picture nominees was for Apple’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” from director Martin Scorsese, which had $17.8 million in estimated national TV media value, according to iSpot.

Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” — the biggest film of 2023 with $1.44 billion in global box office receipts — registered $9.6 million in national TV ad spending. That excluded Warner Bros.’ various cross-promo spots and a massive social-media campaign leading up to the blockbuster’s July 21 release alongside “Oppenheimer.”

The four other 2024 best picture nominees — “The Holdovers,” “American Fiction,” “Poor Things” and “Maestro” — had national TV media value between $4 million and $6 million for the same time period, according to iSpot’s estimates.

Overall, “Oppenheimer” was No. 6 among movies for national TV ad spending over the past year. The top five were: Universal’s “Fast X” ($32.5 million), Warner Bros.’ “The Flash” ($32.1 million); Universal/Illumination’s “Migration” ($31.8 million) and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($29.8 million); and Amazon Studios’ “Air” ($29.4 million).

Here’s the chart with estimated national TV ad spending for the 2024 Oscars best picture nominees from iSpot (with more info available at this link):

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