Won't You Be My Neighbor? drops to second place, continuing march to $20 mil.
The summer has produced another certified hit documentary, Three Identical Strangers, the third breakthrough nonfiction film in recent months following the big success of RBG and Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Strangers, directed by Tim Wardle, took over number one at the doc box office over the weekend of July 20-22, earning almost $1.5 mil., according to audience measurement company comScore. After four weeks in theaters the film has made $4,642,259.
Also impressive was its per screen average. Three Identical Strangers -- the remarkable tale of identical triplets who were separated shortly after birth and only reunited by pure chance as adults -- played at 332 venues for an average of $4,440 per screen. The second place documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, played on more than twice as many screens.
Neighbor entered the weekend as the reigning box office champ for over a month. It came in a close second with $1,359,090 in ticket sales, pushing its cume to $18,462,117. Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville directed the documentary about the work and values of children's television pioneer Fred Rogers, of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Coming in third for the weekend, according to comScore, was the aforementioned RBG, the documentary about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The film directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen collected $184,184, increasing its overall total to $13,132,071.
Fourth place went to Whitney, Kevin Macdonald's documentary about late pop star Whitney Houston. It made $124,003, with a cume that now stands at $2.8 mil.
The other major box office story of the weekend was the strong debut of McQueen, the documentary about late fashion designer Alexander McQueen, directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui. It opened on just four screens, but made an impressive $24,718 per screen -- far and away the top per-screen average for any nonfiction film in theatrical release. Doing the math, it earned just under $100,000 overall.
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.