Murray pic catches its limit on each coast

There was nothing fishy about the debut of Disney’s “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.” Helmed by Wes Anderson and starring Bill Murray, pic grossed $114,000 over its first weekend, averaging $57,000 on its two screens at L.A.’s the Grove and Gotham’s Lincoln Square.

According to Disney, “Aquatic” sold out all of its shows over the three-day span, aside from an 11 a.m. showing on Friday.

Pic’s off to a slightly better start than the $55,396 average on the first five screens for Anderson’s “The Royal Tenenbaums” in 2001. “Aquatic” will expand to more than 1,000 screens on Christmas.

Also debuting was Thinkfilm’s “Born Into Brothels,” which was named best doc of the year by the L.A. Film Critics Assn. over the weekend. It did $11,165 in biz over the weekend on a solo screen at Gotham’s Film Forum. Since opening Wednesday, pic’s grossed $15,200.

Distrib will keep it exclusively in Gotham until Jan. 28, after Oscar noms are announced, when it hopes to draft off awards notice.

Among the holdovers, Warner Independent’s “A Very Long Engagement” is living up to its title, continuing its steady results. Now in its third week, pic grossed $46,800 over the frame on its original four screens, an average of $11,700. That’s down just 36% and brings cume on the French war romancer to $287,000.

According to distrib chief Steven Friedlander, pic is moving Friday to 25 screens in the top 20 markets and will widen again to 175 screens on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Sony Pictures Classics’ “Bad Education” debuted in Los Angeles after playing three weeks in Gotham. Altogether, pic grossed $136,280 for the weekend, averaging $27,256 per screen. On the two new West Coast screens, pic counted $62,348, while the Gotham shows were down 42%. Cume on the Pedro Almodovar pic is $700,987.

SPC’s “House of Flying Daggers,” in its sophomore session, was down 46% on its 15 screens. Zhang Yimou martial arts romancer brought in $214,616 for the weekend, an average of $14,308 per screen. Cume is $832,217.

Though Fox Searchlight’s “Sideways” has been showered with early kudos, including the best picture nod from L.A. critics, the Alexander Payne helmed film is having difficulty playing big on the road.

In its ninth week, “Sideways” was booked in 475 theaters and grossed $1.18 million, an average of $2,484 per screen. Cume is a bit more than $14.2 million.

Searchlight’s “Kinsey,” despite becoming a touchpoint for pundits, also seems stalled in its fifth week. Sexologist biopic made $500,000 over the weekend from 169 screens, an average of $2,959, and boosted cume to a hair shy of $4.4 million.

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