Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, on surfer who lost an arm in shark attack, opens in second
Ron Howard's documentary on Luciano Pavarotti held on to the top stop at the documentary box office over the weekend, in a tight race between four nonfiction films.
Pavarotti, which follows the tenor's rise from Modena, Italy to the heights of music stardom, made $278,255, according to audience tracker comScore. The film pushed past the $3.5 million mark in total earnings, after six weeks of release.
Howard's previous documentary, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years, topped out at $2.9 million at the box office in 2016 before it began streaming on Hulu.
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, about the talented surfer who lost an arm at age 13 in a tiger shark attack, debuted in second place with $241,740. The film directed by Aaron Lieber shows how Hamilton overcame the devastating injury to surf again at championship level, a remarkable achievement given the difficulty of gaining a standing position on a surfboard without the use of two hands, not to mention the challenge on maintaining balance on the board.
Third place went to Maiden, the stirring story of the first all-women yachting crew to take part in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a 32,000 mile competition across some of the most perilous ocean waters. The film directed by Alex Holmes made $218,328, upping its cume to nearly half a million dollars in three weeks of release.
Fourth and fifth places at the doc box office went to music-related films. Echo in the Canyon, about the vibrant rock scene that emerged in the 1960s in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles, earned another $207,034 to land in fourth. It has made $2,338,044 in eight weeks of release.
Eric Clapton, Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, Stephen Stills and David Crosby are among the rock icons who participate in the film, directed by former record company executive Andrew Slater.
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Nick Broomfield's documentary about the love affair between poet-singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen, finished in fifth place with $110,954 over the weekend, comScore reported. It earned $3,698 per location, the best per screen average of any of the documentaries in the top 10.
Overall, the 10 highest-grossing documentaries made a collective $1.2 million for the frame.
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.