This was its most lucrative weekend yet. “Moonlight” played in 1,564 theaters, its highest count since first opening on four screens in late October.
Movies are regularly re-released or expanded to wider theater tallies after scoring Best Picture, but the “Moonlight” revenue tops that of the past four Best Picture champions. Last year’s titleholder, “Spotlight,” collected $1.8 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Before it, “Birdman” made $1.9 million, and “12 Years a Slave” and “Argo” each accrued about $2.1 million. All four saw smaller expansions than “Moonlight.” To find a Best Picture re-release that grossed more than “Moonlight,” we have to go back to 2012 winner “The Artist,” which drew $3.6 million in 1,756 locations.
While some of the “Moonlight” victory has been overshadowed by the envelope snafu that resulted in presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway at first crowning “La La Land,” this win should not be undersold. “Moonlight” climbed almost 260 percent compared to the previous week’s grosses, by far the most of any movie this weekend. That’s especially impressive considering it had already hit VOD platforms. A24, the independent studio behind the film, also reported strong digital sales over the past several days. The movie currently sits at No. 4 on the iTunes chart.