indieWIRE has a new weekend feature: A retrospective box office chart, based on a debuting indie release or a current event on the international film scene. Today, iW is taking a look at the track record of Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion winners, in honor of the ongoing edition of the festival.
Listed below are the top 10 grossing winners of the Golden Lion, which is a juried prize handed out to the best feature film at the festival. For those currently in competition at the festival, it suggests winning the top prize doesn't exact translate into cash money: Only two winners have ever grossed over $15 million dollars.
Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" is far and away the top grossing Golden Lion winner, taking in $83 million back in 2005 (or $101.3 million if adjusted for 2011 inflation). A distant second is Darren Aronofsky (who is currently the president of the jury at this year's festival), whose 2008 film "The Wrestler" grossed just over $26 million.
Beyond that, an additional trio - Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding," Louis Malle's "Atlantic City" and Neil Jordan's "Michael Collins" - took in over $10 million (adjusted for inflation, "City" is actually #2 with a $36.4 million gross). Overall, only six Golden Lion winners topped out over $5 million.
Here's the overall top ten; figures are for North America only and not adjusted for inflation. It also only includes films since the Golden Lion was reinstated in 1980 after a decade of non-existence due to availability of information.
1. Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005) - $83,043,761
2. The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008) - $26,238,243
3. Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair, 2001) - $13,885,966
4. Atlantic City (Louis Malle, 1980) - $12,729,675
5. Michael Collins (Neil Jordan, 1996) - $11,092,559
6. Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993) - $6,110,979
7. The Magdelene Sisters (Peter Mullan, 2002) - $4,890,878
8. Lust, Caution (Ang Lee, 2007) - $4,604,982
9. Au Revoir, Les Enfants (Louis Malle, 1987) - $4,542,825
10. Gloria (John Cassavetes, 1980) - $4,059,673