‘Michael Clayton’ has clout

Limited release films holding strong

Hollywood’s fall wide releases have thus far been lackluster. But as awards season gets into full swing, some of the limited release kudos contenders are proving to be B.O. stalwarts.

Warner Bros.’ “Michael Clayton” had one of the best limited bows of the year, grossing a boffo $704,000 at 15 theaters. George Clooney starrer averaged $46,903 per screen and looks well positioned as Warner Bros. plans to take it wide to around 2,400 theaters Friday.

Warner Independent added 216 theaters for “In the Valley of Elah” in its fourth weekend. Iraq war drama grossed $1.36 million, down 10% from last week, and averaged $1,395 per play. Cume is $5.4 million.

Paramount Vantage’s “Into the Wild” played 135 locations, up from 33 last weekend, and grossed $1.3 million, giving it a per-play take of $9,592. Sean Penn-directed adaptation of the bestselling book has cumed $2.5 million. Studio plans to keep the print count roughly even Friday before expanding further in two weeks.

Fox Searchlight expanded “The Darjeeling Limited” from two to 19 playdates and grossed a strong $552,876. Wes Anderson-helmed comedy averaged $29,100 per theater and upped its cume to $781,494. It will grow to nearly 100 locations Friday.

Focus grew Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” from one to 17 runs and grossed a solid $368,831, averaging $21,696 per play. Cume for the NC-17 Chinese import is $477,181. It will hit 10 more markets and some suburban theaters next weekend.

Warners’ “The Assassination of Jesse James” went from five to 61 plays and grossed a so-so $408,000. Brad Pitt starrer averaged $6,690 and upped its cume to $747,000.

Sony Pictures Classics debuted docu “My Kid Could Paint That” at seven locations and took in $28,285, or $4,041 per play.

IFC opened Bruce Lee mockumentary “Finishing the Game” at is own IFC Center in Gotham and grossed $13,867.

Warner Bros. also re-released sci-fi classic “Blade Runner” in a digitally remastered print at two theaters in Gotham and L.A, where it grossed an outstanding $95,000.