Anti-Hillary Clinton doc crosses $13 mil. mark
Two new documentaries hit theaters over the weekend, and both wound up in the top five at the box office.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story by director Jeff Feuerzeig debuted in fourth place, playing on a total of just five screens in New York, LA and San Francisco. According to audience measurement firm Rentrak, the film made $4,683 at each location, for a total of $23,413 over the weekend.
The film, which is attracting some controversy, explores the literary sensation over JT LeRoy, who was thought to be an HIV-positive boy hustler writing autobiographical fiction. In reality he was the creation of a 40-year-old woman named Laura Albert, who was eventually unmasked by a New York Times reporter. Albert is a primary source for the film, which includes voluminous phone recordings where Albert speaks to celebrity admirers as if she were the teenage LeRoy.
To have Laura Albert tell her own story is something I stand by.
The Times published a piece Sunday where some of those celebrities expressed outrage over the film. The Times said actress Asia Argento, who directed a film based on one of LeRoy's novels, neither knew her conversations with LeRoy had been recorded, nor that they had been incorporated within the documentary.
“This is downright evil and disturbing,” Argento told the Times. “I am very angry.”
Feuerzeig defended his film to the Times, describing it as a "subjective telling by [Albert] of her life."
Another box office newbie, Cameraperson, debuted in fifth place, Rentrak reported. Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson directed the highly-regarded film, which played on a single screen in New York. It earned $12,760 at that one location.
Cameraperson opens in Brookline, Mass. September 16 and in Los Angeles on September 23.
The number one nonfiction film at the box office was the IMAX space documentary A Beautiful Planet, narrated by Jennifer Lawrence. It has now earned $6,042,798 over 20 weeks of release, Rentrak said.
Falling to second place over the weekend was Dinesh D'Souza's film Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party. It played on 169 screens but earned the lowest per-screen average of any nonfiction film in the top 10, just $360 per location. Still, the film crossed the $13 mil. mark in overall earnings, far and away the highest total for any documentary this year.
For an analysis of the flawed arguments provided in the highly-partisan film, click here.
Coming in third over the weekend was Werner Herzog's documentary Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, a meditation on the past, present and possible future of the Internet. The film has now earned just shy of half a million dollars in four weeks of release, Rentrak reported.
Herzog unveils his latest documentary, Into the Inferno, at the Toronto International Film Festival tomorrow. TIFF programmers write, "The great Werner Herzog teams up with volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer for this globe-trotting tour of some of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes."
Top five documentaries for the weekend 9/9 to 9/11:
1. A Beautiful Planet $63,519
2. Hillary's America:
The Secret History of the Democratic Party $60,827
3. Lo And Behold:
Reveries of the Connected World $38,709
4. Author: The JT LeRoy Story $23,413
5. Cameraperson $12,760
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.