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Hamburger Phones

Hamburger Phones

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Hundreds of hamburger phones are flying off eBay's virtual shelves after they appeared in the hit comedy Juno.

Paul de Carvalho, manager of Fox Searchlight in Australia, said the studio brought 100 Juno-branded phones to Australia for use in promotional giveaways but the product - also sold online without any branding - had since turned into a pop culture icon.

He compared the success to the "Vote for Pedro" T-shirts used to promote the low-budget indie hit Napoleon Dynamite, which debuted in 2005.

"With each film we like to have a number of signature promo items and for Juno the hamburger phone is one of those," he said.

"For debut screenwriter Diablo Cody, the film is heavily autobiographical ... she used to talk for hours to her high school boyfriend on a hamburger phone."

Hailed by critics as a hilarious yet moving take on teen pregnancy, the film tells the story of 16-year-old Juno MacGuff and her battle with adoption after falling pregnant to her friend Paulie Bleeker.

It was recently nominated for four Oscar awards including best picture and best actress.

Juno debuted in Australia on January 17 and while it reportedly only cost about $US10 million to make, it has already garnered over $US110 million in US ticket sales and $7 million in Australia.

Carvalho said Juno, now No.1 in the Australian box office, was the most successful film Fox Searchlight released in the past decade.

eBay spokesman Daniel Feiler said in the three months between November 7 and February 5, Australians snapped up 364 hamburger phones. Prices, sales and bids have increased exponentially in the three weeks since the film's local premier.

As demand has increased, so too has the final selling price, which inflated from around $10 in November to around $20 in January. Some have paid up to $56.

In the US, eBay said demand for the retro phones jumped 759 per cent in the month following Juno's release there.

The 330g device is made out of plastic and can be used as a regular landline house phone.

"eBay gives great insight into popular culture," said Feiler.

"When something is popular because of a movie or a TV show or some other pop culture phenomenon, then we do see a reflection on eBay and that's clearly demonstrated by an increase in interest and sales of hamburger phones in the last few weeks of January."

Less than 20 units were sold in November but in December sales spiked to between 15 to 30 a week, before rising to about 50 a week in January
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