Fox Searchlight has a huge hit on their hands with Juno. The film grossed $3.285 million on 998 screens on Friday night (December 28th). I hate to say I told you so, but… well, I told you so. Juno is connecting with mainstream America. The film was given the patented platform release that we’ve grown to expect from Searchlight, becoming the 31st biggest per screen opening of all time. The film has an estimated $18.6 million take, and has yet to expand to over 1,000 screens. The latest step in the platform happened on Tuesday (Christmas), where the film went from 300 to 998 screens. As you can see, Juno has only begun to stretch its legs.

The $3.2 million Friday night number is significant because it might be the second biggest Friday night in independent film history. Here is a look at some of the best Friday’s in recent “Indie” Film History:

Blair Witch Project – around $8.234 million on 1,101 screens
Juno – $3.285 on 998 screens
No Country – $3.1 million on 860 screens
My Big Fat Greek Wedding – $3.044 million on 1764 screens
Pulp fiction – $2.9 million on 338 screens
Crouching Tiger – $2.3 million on 693 screens
Hot Fuzz – $2.118 on 825 screens
Little Miss Sunshine’s – $2.028 million on 1430 screens
Brokeback Mountain – $2.019 million
Sideways – $1.69 million on 1694 screens
Garden State – around $0.9 million on 813 screens
Napoleon Dynamite – $0.7 million on 921 screens

I don’t have access to all the numbers, so maybe our crackjack Box Office reporter Steve Mason will follow up on this, or maybe someone out there has the definitive answer. But as far as I can tell, Juno has pulled the second biggest Friday night box office in “Indie” Film history.

Also note: While The Passion of the Christ is technically an independent film, it opened wide on over 3,000 screens. Technically Star Wars Episode I is also an independent film, possibly the biggest independent film ever made. For this reason, I have not included wide releases of this nature in this discussion.

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