Documentary produced, directed by and starring Beyonce draws HBO's best documentary numbers in nearly a decade
Looks like Beyonce has another hit on her hands.
The HBO documentary "Beyonce: Life Is But a Dream" — which starred, and was directed and produced by, the "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" singer — drew 1.8 million total viewers with its premiere Saturday night.
Depending on how you look at it, that's a record number for HBO documentaries — according to the premium cable outlet, it's the highest rating for a documentary in almost 10 years, and ratings were calculated differently by Nielsen after January 2004, making apples-to-apples comparisons with previous documentaries impossible.
At any rate, it definitely beat the previous documentary record, for 2006's "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (Acts 1 & 2), which averaged 1.7 million total viewers for the network.
While the Beyonce documentary — billed as "a multifaceted portrait" of the singer — was a hit with viewers, critics were less receptive of the project, which included extensive first-person footage shot by the singer on her laptop.
The New York Times complained that the documentary "comes off less as an autobiography than a song-and-dance defense brief." The Washington Post, meanwhile, noted, "this is a movie that doesn't tell you much of anything you really want to know."