Film on Norman Lear scores highest per screen average but Jennifer Lawrence-narrated doc is number one
A Beautiful Planet returned to the top spot among documentaries in theatrical release, a week after it was displaced by Dark Horse, according to audience measurement firm Rentrak.
The space-themed IMAX film -- narrated by Jennifer Lawrence and created in association with NASA -- has now earned almost $3.4 million since hitting the super-big screen 11 weeks ago.
But the top per-screen average went to a newcomer, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Rentrak reported.
The documentary about the television producer and cultural icon finished in ninth place at the box office, but it only played on two screens in New York over the weekend. It's $8,456 per screen average was the highest of any nonfiction film in theaters.
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady co-directed the film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You opens at the Landmark Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles on Friday [Norman Lear and the filmmakers will be present for Q&A's following the 7:30pm screenings on both Friday and Saturday]
Coming in a close second to A Beautiful Planet over the weekend was The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble directed by Morgan Neville [listen to podcast with Neville here]. The film has made $570,426 in five weeks of release, per Rentrak.
Third place went to Tickled, the documentary co-directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve, which pushed its three-week total to $291,906. An exceptional piece of investigative journalism, Tickled gets to the bottom of a strange subculture: "competitive endurance tickling." It may sound like utter silliness, but Farrier and Reeve found themselves plunged into a legal nightmare when they started to explore the story.
Dark Horse, the story of an unlikely racing champion named Dream Alliance, came in fourth over the weekend. The crowd-pleasing film directed by Louise Osmond has earned $750,000 in 10 weeks of release.
Weiner continued its impressive run at the box office, taking in another $56,975 over the weekend. The documentary about disgraced politician Anthony Weiner has made $1,487,311 since it was released eight weeks ago. Weiner, co-directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, won the Grand Jury Prize for a U.S. documentary at Sundance.
For those counting, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Dark Horse, Tickled and Weiner all debuted at the Sundance Film Festival [Dark Horse in 2015, the rest in 2016]
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.