Fox Searchlight's 12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejifor, triumphed this weekend at the box office during its limited opening in 19 theaters, grossing $960,000, Deadline Hollywood reports.  

Searchlight said Sunday that the film, produced by New Regency, reached an "incredibly diverse audience," adding, "We have been attracting both the Art/Specialty cinephile crowd as well the African-American audience. CinemaScores have come in with an overall grade of ‘A' with a fairly wide spread in terms of age and demographics."

To put in perspective, SPC's Blue Jasmine opened in 6 theaters in August, averaging just over $102K ($31.97 cume); Focus' The Place Beyond The Pines bowed in April with 4 runs, averaging $69,864 ($21.4M cume); A24's Spring Breakers opened in a trio of runs, averaging $87,667 ($14.12M cume), while the distributor's August release The Spectacular Now opened with a $49,354 average in 4 theaters ($6.8M cume).

This is indeed good news for a film about which, as Teresa Wiltz writes in a review at The Root, "No doubt about it, it's a hard, hard slog, disturbing and despairing, gnawing at the spirit long after the last credits have rolled off the screen. You should see it anyway."

Read more at Deadline Hollywood.