A lot of my colleagues seem to be practically empurpled lately over the fact that Juno is being feted as not merely a success, but an indie/crossover success. This seems like a moot argument to me -- more on that in a second -- but first I will say that whether you think it is or isn't, you shouldn't overstep and give the PR machine too much credit here. Any studio shingle PR team worth its salt obviously has a 'media manipulation/other shenanigans' Trapper Keeper ready to be opened at a moment's notice if the clouds part and a movie actually connects with the public, but that's the point -- it has to connect first. Juno is a quadrant pimp and Once isn't -- that's why EW isn't piling on the plaudits for Once, even though it's currently enjoying 98 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. If your response to this is "Um, yeah, I'm sure Once would love to have Fox Searchlight's Scrooge McDuck-swimming pool of money to buy some ads with" I would say, first, it does, and second, I'm increasingly of the opinion that most of that money is wasted on an ad-saturated public anyway.
All the marketing in the world and a bevy of A-list stars couldn't push a big movie like The Golden Compass even to $70 million, nor keep a crazy-hyped film like Cloverfield from swan-diving in its second weekend, so Juno clearly has legs, which is a rare commodity these days for any film, big or small. And to suggest that Juno's success rests on its popularity with teens, as some have, is wishful thinking. The scary reality is that today's 16 year-olds would probably like to see Step Up 2 in the Oscar race, not a Jason Reitman movie.
As to whether the film is, specifically, an indie/crossover success story or not, come on -- this isn't 1995. The blurring of indie, non-indie, major-minors and minor-majors is so far along at this point that we should substitute all of this for a more simple categorization: front-loaded and back-loaded. Juno, obviously, is back-loaded. The totems of both categories should be obvious, so I won't go through them, but the final point, or question rather, is this -- when was the last time a driven-snow indie blazed a trail to Oscar gold or box office green without so much as a cash-injection from a studio arm? And if you can't name one, then what's the argument?