The doc box office race comes down to Ron Howard's film and a doc on Hillsong UNITED
In a repeat of last week, it was a tight contest for number one at the documentary box office, with Ron Howard's Beatles film up against a movie about a Christian music group from Australia.
Hillsong: Let Hope Rise came out on top again, by a slim margin. The concert film starring the band Hillsong UNITED earned $414,824 over the weekend, according to audience measurement firm Rentrak. That was just ahead of the $403,363 made by The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years.
On a per screen basis, though, The Beatles were a clear winner. Ron Howard's film played at 151 locations, with a per screen average of $2,671, Rentrak reported.
Hillsong, meanwhile, played at 763 locations with a per screen average of $544.
After two weeks of release the Hillsong movie has made $2,097,944. The Beatles documentary over two weeks has earned $1,468,301. But Eight Days a Week is simultaneously streaming on Hulu, which presumably cuts into its full box office potential to some degree.
Trailers for both films:
Two brand new documentaries factored into the weekend box office.
The Lovers and The Despot, directed by Rob Cannan and Ross Adam, came in third with receipts of $14,925. The film tells the bizarre story of a prominent South Korean couple -- one an actress, the other a director -- who were kidnapped and taken to North Korea where they were forced to become personal filmmakers to leader Kim Jong-Il.
The Lovers and The Despot played on eight screens. It is also available on iTunes, Amazon Video and other on demand platforms.
Werner Herzog's documentary Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World came in fourth place at the doc box office. After six weeks of release the film has made a total of $556,947, according to Rentrak.
Coming in fifth in its debut weekend was The Best Government Money Can Buy, directed by Francis Megahy. The expose about political campaign financing, which features interviews with Beltway insiders, made $9,511 on a single screen. Its per screen average was in fact the highest of any documentary in the top 10.
Also of note: Dinesh D'Souza's anti-Hillary Clinton documentary fell out of the top 10 for the first time since it was released in August.
Cameraperson, the debut documentary by cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, came in seventh place among nonfiction films over the weekend. It expands to San Francisco and Seattle on Friday.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.