“The Shape of Water” won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie was produced by Fox Searchlight, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NYSE: FOXA). The film has brought in $126 million worldwide since it debuted December 1, 2017. That total is likely to surge as Fox probably will put the film in theaters again, if only in limited release. And revenue from cable and streaming services should rise sharply.
“The Shape of Water” did not look like a winner in the first few weeks after it was released. It came out at about the same time as mega-blockbusters “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Pitch Perfect 3,” all of which went on to become huge successes. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” ticket sales worldwide reached $1.33 billion. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” reached $929 million.
Among the actors in “The Shape of Water,” Sally Hawkins, one of the leads, had only had a box office success in a more minor role in very successful movie: 2014’s “Godzilla.” Another lead, Michael Shannon, was a minor player in “Man of Steel.” Neither actor is a household name.
“Shape of Water” had another handicap. It was not part of a franchise, as is often the case with successful films. As a standalone picture, it had no legacy audience to make it a success.
“The Shape of Water” was a success with critics. Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review site, showed 92% of the professional reviewers who rated the film had a positive reaction. Among people who saw the film, the number was lower at 77%, which may have limited ticket sales.
At this point, what reviewers or audiences said about “The Shape of Water” and its modest ticket sales when it opened does not matter. Fox has a big win, which will help sales for the film going forward.