Turkish cats leapt to number one three weeks ago
The cats of Kedi are lounging comfortably on top of the box office.
The feline film by Ceyda Torun spent a third week in a row at number one, collecting another $207,513 last weekend, according to audience measurement firm comScore. It has now made more than $1.7 million in North America.
Kedi is a love letter of sorts to residents of Istanbul. And by residents I mean the hundreds of thousands of cats who roam freely in and around the city, to the amusement and delight of Istanbul's human occupants.
Cats have been a part of the city for thousands of years, and so, everyone who grows up in Istanbul or lives in Istanbul has a story about a cat.
Kedi played on 107 screens, the most of any documentary now in theatrical release. Its per screen average amounted to $1,939, comScore reported
"Cats — tabbies, calicos, angoras, norwegian forest cats; ginger cats, grey cats, black cats, white cats, black and white cats — all kinds of cats, roam the city, free, without a human master," Torun wrote in a commentary on the film's website. "Some fend for themselves, scavenging from dumpsters, living in abandoned buildings, others are cared for by communities of people, pampered with the best cat food and given shelter for the cold months."
Cats are as integral to the identity of Istanbul as its monuments, the Bosporus, tea, raki and fish restaurants.
Holding down second place among nonfiction films at the box office is Raoul Peck's film I Am Not Your Negro. It has earned more than $6.6 mil. over the course of two months in theaters, making it one of the most successful documentaries of the past few years.
The film based on unpublished writings of James Baldwin earned an Oscar nomination earlier this year.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.