Oscar gives dramedy a box office boost

Fox Searchlight’s best picture contender “Juno” has become the biggest specialty hit in six years, grossing an estimated $125 million through Monday. The last platform release to take in more at the box office was 2002’s “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which grossed $241.4 million domestically.

“Juno” also has the distinction of being the only film this year to remain on the top-10 box office chart every weekend since its debut.

The quirky dramedy, like the four other best pic nominees, has been looking to ride the box office bump generally enjoyed on the road to Oscar. That road ends Sunday, although the night’s top winners will try to parlay kudos attention into additional B.O. coin.

Over President’s Day weekend, “Juno” grossed an estimated $5.5 million from 1,410 runs for a per-screen average of $2,949, according to Rentrak. Pic placed No. 7 overall.

The highest-grossing best pic nominee after “Juno” is the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men,” which corralled a cume of $61.3 million through Monday, grossing $2.2 million from 925 runs over the long holiday weekend for a per-screen average of $2,418.

“No Country” is a co-production of Miramax and Paramount Vantage.

“Atonement” and “Michael Clayton” were tied with a cume of $47.7 million each through Monday.

Focus Features’ “Atonement” grossed an estimated $1.7 million for the weekend from 784 runs for a per-screen average of 2,186. “Clayton,” from Warner Bros., grossed an estimated $1.2 million from 540 runs for a per location average of $2,167.

Among the five nominees, “There Will Be Blood” is the newest film in release, having unspooled on Christmas Day. It’s also a Vantage-Miramax co-production.

For the holiday weekend, “Blood” grossed an estimated $3.7 million from 1,410 runs for a per-screen average of $2,644 and cume of $31.6 million.

Elsewhere among specialty releases, the Weinstein Co.’s new distribution arm Third Rail Releasing debuted “George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead” over the weekend. Film grossed an estimated $275,000 from 42 locations for a per-screen average of $6,555.

City Lights Pictures’ Brazilian drama “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation” grossed an estimated $106,508 from 18 runs in its debut over the frame. Per-location average was $5,917.

Sony Pictures Classics holdover “The Band’s Visit” scored the highest per-screen average of the holiday weekend among all titles. The Israeli-French film, about an Egyptian band stranded in a small town in Israel, grossed an estimated $159,832 from 13 runs for a per-location average of $12,295 and a cume of $288,102 in its second sesh.

Focus’ holdover “In Bruges” scored the second-best per-screen average of the sesh: $10,050. Film grossed an estimated $1.1 million from 112 theaters for a cume of $1.7 million in its second weekend.

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