Fresh from itshaul of six Academy Awards, including one for best picture, Chicago's international box office leapt25% over the weekend according to Miramax International.

The Broadwaymusical adaptation grossed an estimated $7m in markets over the weekend toraise its international running total to approximately $80m.

Combined withthe picture's $144.5m US gross, which is the highest ever achieved for aMiramax Films title (Screendaily Mar 30), the worldwide total now stands at$224.5m.

According toearly estimates, Chicago climbed 30% in the UK, 26% in Australia and 23% in Germany in thefirst weekend after the Oscars.

While still inits early stages in most territories, the picture is already the highestgrossing Miramax title of all time in the UK, where it has amassed $25m. It isscheduled to open in Japan on Apr 19.

"We'rethrilled with the surge of business that Chicago has enjoyed following the best picturewin at the Oscars," Miramax chief operating officer Rick Sands said in astatement.

"TheAcademy Awards have provided a seal of approval for moviegoers - especiallyamong younger demographics domestically and for our internationalaudiences."

On the domesticfront, box office climbed by 20% and grossed $7.4m on 2,701 theatres in its14th week on release.

This is thehighest ever score on the Miramax Films label, overtaking Good Will Hunting ($139m) and becoming the second highestin company history behind Dimension Films' Scary Movie ($157m).

Miramax's two previous best picture Oscar winners, TheEnglish Patient and ShakespeareIn Love, achieved respective domesticgrosses of $79m and $101m.

CD soundtracksales also received a boost, rising 40%. The soundtrack has already gone doubleplatinum, recording more than two million sales in the US.