Limited runs do trick for arthouse pix

'Fisher,' 'Narc,' 'Kaante' bring cheer to specialty market

In keeping with seasonal tradition, the arthouse market delivered box office glad tidings this weekend with some festive limited openers.

Disney’s Spike Lee-helmed “The 25th Hour,” a Gotham-based drama starring Edward Norton, grossed an estimated $109,811 from just five New York and L.A. playdates. That repped an impressive $21,962 per site, as cume reached $131,778 following a Thursday bow.

Fox Searchlight’s Denzel Washington starrer “Antwone Fisher” — which the topliner also directed — grossed $217,258 from 15 engagements in six cities, gift-wrapping $14,484 per location. A true-life tale co-starring newcomer Derek Luke in the title role, “Antwone” also bowed Thursday and boasts a four-day estimate cume of $225,863 en route to expansions over Christmas and New Year’s.

Par’s gritty drama “Narc” unspooled in a half-dozen L.A. and Gotham theaters Friday and grossed $66,000 for a solid $11,000 per venue.

And Media Partners/Bollywood’s L.A.-produced Indian actioner “Kaante” debuted with $500,000 from 26 playdates, or $19,231 per site.

The specialty-market good cheer also extended to several pics marking expansions this sesh.

‘Schmidt’ a hit

Chief among them was New Line’s Jack Nicholson starrer “About Schmidt,” which added 18 playdates for a total 24 and grossed $555,000. Weekend-leading $23,125 theater average had execs thanking sugarplum B.O. fairies after a sesh in which distrib’s “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers” set a December opening record.

“This is like having (‘Rings’ helmer) Peter Jackson and the Hobbits decorate your tree, and then finding Jack Nicholson and (co-star) Kathy Bates and (‘Schmidt’) helmer Alexander Payne sitting under the tree,” New Line distrib maven David Tuckerman said.

The two-pic litany coincides with several talent noms in recent Golden Globes voting. “Rings” and “Schmidt” also drew best dramatic pic noms from the Globes, which could prove especially notable for the latter, modestly budgeted arthouser.

A visit from St. Nic

Sony’s Nicolas Cage-Meryl Streep starrer “Adaptation” — another “Globes” nom magnet — added 102 theaters this weekend for a total 109 and grossed $1.2 million. Perf repped a nifty $11,009 per venue and lifted cume to $2.2 million.

Sony Classics’ Pedro Almodovar-helmed “Talk to Her” added four engagements for a total 16 and grossed $118,783, or $7,424 per playdate. “Talk” totes a $677,080 cume en route to another Christmas expansion.

Miramax added three locations for a total 12 for drama “Rabbit-Proof Fence” and grossed $41,100, or $3,425 per site with a $346,694 cume.

And United Artists’ Pierce Brosnan starrer “Evelyn” added 52 theaters for a total 67 and grossed $130,000. Perf repped a per-venue average of $1,945 with a $224,000 cume.

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