Cat doc Kedi steady; The Settlers debuts at no. 4
Raoul Peck's Oscar-nominated documentary on James Baldwin continues to dazzle at the box office.
I Am Not Your Negro retained the number one spot among nonfiction titles in theatrical release, earning another $475,801 over the weekend, according to audience measurement firm comScore. After five weeks of release, IANYN has made a total of $5,553,769, becoming one of the most successful documentaries of recent years.
IANYN played on 235 screens, down 85 from the week before. That still amounts to a wide release for a documentary, which often play at just a handful of theaters at a time.
"It's been quite rewarding for a film that's been 10 years in the making,' producer Hébert Peck told Nonfictionfilm.com late last month regarding the success of the film. "At some point we knew we had something. But we weren't sure until the audience got to see it and what their reaction was going to be. And the reaction has been really been incredible."
Coming in second at the doc box office was Kedi, directed by Ceyda Torun. The film about the tens of thousands of cats that roam the streets of Istanbul -- and the ways these felines enrich the lives of their human neighbors -- earned another $237,008, pushing its overall total to $579,818.
Street cats are such a big part of the culture that when US president Barack Obama visited Istanbul, part of his tour included a stop at the Hagia Sophia to visit its famous cat. Cats are as integral to the identity of Istanbul as its monuments.
Another film that centers on the relationship between humans and animals came in third -- The Eagle Huntress by director Otto Bell. The film, now in its 18th week of release, has earned an impressive $3,075,955 overall.
Fourth place went to The Settlers in its debut weekend. The film by Shimon Dotan explores the intense controversy over the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, a practice the United Nations has condemned as a "flagrant violation under international law."
In December the outgoing Obama administration declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution reaffirming that position. The new Trump administration reportedly has warned Israel against formally annexing the occupied West Bank, but its stance on settlements has been equivocal.
Coming in fifth according to comScore was the documentary Mr. Gaga, about Ohad Naharin, one of the most acclaimed choreographers in the world. Tomer Heymann directed the film which explores Naharin's exacting creative process and the origins of the "movement language" he developed known as Gaga.
Mr. Gaga has played on a small number of screens, collecting over $122,000 in five weeks of release.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.