Is “Nine” tumbling out of Oscar’s 10?

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You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “Innocent until proven guilty.” Well, in the Oscar race, certain prestige films are frontrunners until they are not so successful.

Alex Dobuzinskis reports for Reuters that nearly one week after expanding the picture from 4 screens to 1,412 screens, The Weinstein Co. is pulling prints from smaller markets due to “disappointing” box office.

BoxOfficeMojo.com tracks the film’s daily performance and displays a steady decline in sales. “Nine” earned $2 million on Christmas Day, $1.8 million on Dec. 26, $1.5 million on Dec. 27, and $1 million on Dec. 28. It has earned $6.9 million since opening in limited release.

What, if anything, does this mean for the film’s Oscar hopes? The connection between box office receipts and Oscar nominations is questionable, and other films with weak ticket sales still find themselves in the hunt (see “The Hurt Locker” and its $12.6 million domestic gross).

But poor reviews — “Nine” currently has a 37-percent FRESH grade on Rotten Tomatoes — and the suggestion of a studio retreat could signal an open door into the Academy’s coveted Top 10 for fringe contenders like Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones,” Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger,” Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9,” Kenny Ortega’s “This Is It” or Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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