Doc box office: 'Free Solo' climbs to no. 1; 'Fahrenheit 11/9' nears $6 mil. mark
Mountaineering film from E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin goes wider, continues impressive per-screen average
Free Solo is now in solo position at the top of the documentary box office charts, bumping Fahrenheit 11/9 from that lofty perch. The film by directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin earned $562,785 over the weekend to claim number one, according to audience measurement firm comScore.
Free Solo, the story of climber Alex Honnold's daring attempt to scale the stone face of Yosemite's El Capitan without a rope, expanded to another 37 screens over the weekend, maintaining an impressive per-screen average of $13,726.
Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9, meanwhile, shed almost 1,300 screens over the weekend. It finished in second place with $238,510 in ticket sales, but managed a per screen average of just $565, comScore reported.
On the upside for Moore, his latest film -- a lacerating critique of Donald Trump and what led to his election -- surpassed the current box office take of the conservative-oriented documentary Death of a Nation, directed by right-wing pundit Dinesh D'Souza. Fahrenheit has now made $5,985,895, compared to $5,884,034 for Death of a Nation.
In third place came Tea with the Dames, a documentary by Roger Michell which features actresses (and dames) Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins in conversation about their careers. It made $65,000 over the weekend.
Fourth place went to Love, Gilda, the film by Lisa D'Apolito about the late comedian Gilda Radner. It has made $539,976 in three weeks of release. Rounding out the top five was Pick of the Litter, a film that "follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their quest to become guide dogs for the blind," as the documentary's website describes it. Litter has feathered its bed with $451,519 in earnings over six weeks of release.
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.