Doc box office: 'Three Identical Strangers' no. 1; Mister Rogers doc crosses $20 mil.
Star-studded Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood scores on single screen
Documentaries registered another strong performance at the box office this weekend, with one film in particular crossing into rarefied territory.
Morgan Neville's Won't You Be My Neighbor? vaulted over the $20 mil. mark in its eighth week of release, achieving a total of $20,048,382, according to audience measurement firm comScore. The film about children's television pioneer Fred Rogers became the most successful biographical documentary of all time, and is approaching top-10 status among nonfiction films of any genre.
For the weekend of July 27-29 Neighbor earned $704,445, good enough for second place among titles in current release. Three Identical Strangers finished in identical position to the previous week -- at no. 1
Tim Wardle's doc about identical triplets who were separated at birth and only discovered each others' existence by accident as adults made another $1.2 mil. for a cume of $6.7 mil., comScore reported. Strangers added a hundred screens over the weekend, while Neighbor shed 266 screens.
The other big box office story of the weekend was the strong debut for Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, Matt Tyrnauer's film about Scotty Bowers, who spent a career in the shadows supplying sexual services to the movie industry's lesbian and gay stars.
The film -- in which Bowers recalls either participating in or arranging sex romps with Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Laurence Olivier, Spencer Tracy and many other closeted marquee names, as well as supplying women to the likes of Katharine Hepburn -- opened on a single screen at the ArcLight Theatres in Hollywood, blocks from where Bowers used to do a brisk business in the 1940s, 50s and beyond. Scotty earned an impressive $31,000 there for the highest per-screen total of the weekend. The film will expand to New York this week, with more locations across the country to follow (ticket info here).
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.