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Cannes 2011 Recap: Charting a High-Grossing, Oscar-Bound Crop

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 16, 2012 at 12:09PM

A year ago when Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" opened the Cannes Film Festival, no one would have ever guessed it was the beginning of a fairly remarkable success story. Released in theaters a week a week later, the film would go on to become Allen's highest grossing film ever, and get him his first Oscar in 25 years.
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Here's the top 10 grossing films to be theatrically released from the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, with notes on how each film played out over awards season. Notably, this does not include "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," which had a special screening at the festival.

1. Midnight in Paris
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $56.8 million
Worldwide Gross: $148.7 million
Reported Budget: $17 million
Awards: Won an Oscar for best original screenplay and got 3 other nominations, including best picture.
Verdict: Massive success story on all fronts. The highest grossing film of Allen's career, not to mention the #2 indie of 2012 (behind "The Descendants") and the first Oscar for Allen in 25 years.

2. The Artist
U.S. Distributor: The Weinstein Company
North American Gross: $44.5 million
Worldwide Gross: $131.3 million
Reported Budget: $15 million
Awards: It won almost everything, basically. Including best picture, best director and best actor at the Oscars.
Verdict: Given the hype and the awards, one imagines Harvey & company were hoping for a gross north of $50 million. But for a dialogue-free black and white film with no stars to gross what it did is impressive nonetheless.

Drive, Ryan Gosling

3. Drive
U.S. Distributor: FilmDistrict
North American Gross: $35.1 million
Worldwide Gross: $76.2 million
Reported Budget: $15 million
Awards: Sadly only a single Oscar nomination for best sound editing, though it did get quite a few notices from critics award groups, most notably for best supporting actor Albert Brooks.
Verdict: Considering the $15 million budgeted film was generally quite polarizing and not particularly commercial, "Drive" did quite well.

4. The Tree of Life
U.S. Distributor: Fox Searchlight
North American Gross: $13.3 million
Worldwide Gross: $54.3 million
Reported Budget: $32 million
Awards: Nominations for both best picture and best director at the Oscars, in addition to the Palme d'Or it won at Cannes.
Verdict: Sure, Brad Pitt helped, but for what is an essentially an experimental film to make over $10 million in North America and get a best picture nomination? You can't ask for much more.

5. The Skin I Live In
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $3.2 million
Worldwide Gross: $30.9 million
Reported Budget: €10 million
Awards: It won the BAFTA for best film not in the English language, but didn't manage any Oscar nods.
Verdict: A disappointment in the sense that it was Almodovar's lowest grossing film Stateside since 1998's "Live Flesh," it was also one of his least marketable films in a while and a $3 million gross for a Spanish language thriller about a plastic surgeon is hard to scoff at.

6. Melancholia
U.S. Distributor: Magnolia
North American Gross: $3 million
Worldwide Gross: $16 million
Reported Budget: $9.4 million
Awards: No Oscar nods (despite many feeling lead actress Kirsten Dunst deserved to be there), but it did with the National Society of Film Critics' best picture and actress honors and the European Film Award for best film.
Verdict: Despite the surge of bad press Lars Von Trier got for his Nazi-themed comments at Cannes, "Melancholia" was his highest grossing film in North America since 2000's "Dancer in the Dark," taking in over six times what 2009's "Antichrist" did. It also won him some of the best reviews of his career.

7. Footnote
U.S. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
North American Gross: $1.8 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: $2 million (and counting)
Reported Budget: N/A
Awards: The film ended up being the sole Cannes alum to get a nomination for a best foreign language film Oscar.
Verdict: Still in release in the U.S. (it came out in March), the film should end up with an impressive gross north of $2 million.

8. We Need To Talk About Kevin
U.S. Distributor: Oscilloscope
North American Gross: $1.7 million
Worldwide Gross: $6 million
Reported Budget: $7 million
Awards: Lead actress Tilda Swinton was nominated for pretty much every award except the Oscar.
Verdict: Its $1.7 million North American gross makes it the highest grossing film in distributor Oscilloscope's history, and the remarkable amount of non-Oscar accolades for Swinton continues to prove her as one of the best actresses out there.

9. The Kid With a Bike
U.S. Distributor: Sundance Selects
North American Gross: $1.3 million (and counting)
Worldwide Gross: $2.3 million (and counting)
Reported Budget: N/A
Awards: It got Golden Globe and Indie Spirit nods for best foreign film, but didn't end up making Oscar's cut (though this was due to the fact that it was not submitted by Belgium).
Verdict: It's still in release, but the film is already the highest grossing film ever for directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

10. Le Havre
U.S. Distributor: Janus Films
North American Gross: $611K
Worldwide Gross: $10.5 million
Reported Budget: €3.8 million
Awards: It was Finland's submission for the Oscars, but was not nominated.
Verdict: Its $10.5 million worldwide gross is certainly more impressive than how it performed Stateside, but even with a $611,000 gross, it's notably the highest grossing film ever for U.S. distributor Janus Films.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Box Office, Box Office






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