On limited release Sony opened Tim Burton's Big Fish in six sites for a $207,377 weekend and a grand $34,563 per-theatre average. The father-son relationship drama stars Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney and Jessica Lange and will add a few sites until it goes wide on Jan 9 2004. It has taken $281,795 since opening in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto last Wednesday (Dec 10).

Lions Gate's Girl With A Pearl Earring took $89,472 from seven sites in Los Angeles and New York for a $12,782 per-theatre average, just slipping into the top 30. Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth star in Peter Webber's adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's novel about the relationship between the Dutch master Vermeer and his servant girl-turned-model. It goes on national release on Jan 9 2004.

Meanwhile New Line re-released The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers in its extended version, to take $727,645 at 126 theatres, pushing that film's running total to $340.5m. This week's The Return Of The King release is expected to surpass the $62m opening gross of Towers, which went on release on Dec 18 last year.