Growing evidence of the theatrical viability of documentary films came this week with the US performance of My Architect.
The film by Nathaniel Kahn was released last Friday and broke the house record at the Film Forum cinema in New York, where it was the first documentary to be simultaneously screened in two theatres.
My Architect, which is tipped to join the shortlist of Oscar nominees, is a personal look by the director at the life and work of his architect father Louis Kahn, who was famous for his run-ins with New York City's planning authorities.
Released by New Yorker Films in association with HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films, the film racked up ticket sales of $29,000 in its opening three-day weekend. The previous record holder was Wallace & Gromit: The Best Of Ardman Animation, which had a $24,325 first weekend. The distributors are now forecasting a full-week total of $52,000. That would put it ahead of Marc Levin's Dark Days, a 2000 film about the homeless in New York.
New Yorker has already opened the film on a single screen in Philadelphia and will expand the New York release next week (Nov 28). It will be taken national in January to coincide with its hoped for Oscar campaign.