12 years a slave (egifior & fassbinder)*”12 Years a Slave,” from Director Steve McQueen, made an impressive debut to both arthouse audiences and African-Americans while surrounding itself with award buzz.

The film brought in a very impressive  $960,000 from only 19 theaters in six top markets, which means each location grossed an average of $50,526. “12 Years a Slave” takes the reigns as the best of the weekend and one of the biggest averages ever for a release in that amount of theaters.

Since its world premiere during the Telluride Film Festival, the New Regency and Plan B/Fox Searchlight release has received remarkable reviews and earned an A CinemaScore. In “12 Years a Slave” we follow the story of the character Solomon Northup, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who lives in upstate New York as a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodward, Paul Dano and Brad Pitt, who owns New Regency and Plan B along with Dede Gardner.

Searchlight, which financed the $22-million production along with New Regency Pictures, River Road Entertainment and FilmFour, opened the film in a mixture of art-house and urban theaters. The film performed best this weekend at the Regal Union Square Stadium in New York, followed by the ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood.

“In the art houses, we had an older audience — mostly people over 45,” said Frank Rodriguez, Searchlight’s senior vice president of distribution. “In the African American skewing theaters, it was really mixed — an equal amount of people over 40 and under 40.”

On Friday, “12 Years a Slave” will open in six additional cities and increase its total theater count to more than 100.