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Agence France-Presse
Los Angeles, January 27, 2012
With the announcement of the films and actors nominated for the Academy Awards, the US box office is already feeling a bump in ticket sales, according to Fandango, the online cinema retailer. Within the day, the numbers surged for ticket sales with Michel Hazanavicius's The Artist gaining 41.1 percent, Alexander Payne's The Descendants increasing 48.8 percent and the most significant hike with Martin Scorsese's Hugo at 72.5 percent.

Films with acting nominees also experienced a bump including The Iron Lady, My Week With Marilyn, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It's an unusual occurrence midweek and notable since Monday's ticket sales had dipped after the weekend attendance for these films.

According to Fandango, The Artist, which has seen gradual increases in earnings, had only collected $12.3 million over the last two months. But on January 24 after the Oscar nominations were announced, the silent film experienced a 190 percent increase in advance sales within hours of its multiple nominations -- for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards.

Most of the films nominated have not been big blockbusters, with the exception of The Help in North America. Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris earned $59 million, his best box office returns since Hannah And Her Sisters in 1986 at $40 million.

For films already released on home video, such as Brad Pitt's Moneyball and The Tree Of Life, rentals are expected to benefit.

The studios are planning to expand distribution for nominated films in theaters to take advantage of the interest in the titles getting Oscar nods. The Artist, The Descendants and Hugo will open wider into 900 or more cinemas. Also, the animated film Rango, featuring Johnny Depp's voice and directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski will relaunch for one week in theaters.

Other animated nominees Chico And Rita opens February 10 and A Cat In Paris has a summer release.