‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Crosses $20 Million at Indie Box Office

“Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” also opens as latest hot indie documentary

Focus Features’ “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” hit a big milestone this weekend, crossing the $20 million mark.

Earning rave reviews at Sundance and going on to find success with “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” fans worldwide, Morgan Neville’s documentary now sits among the top 15 highest grossing non-fiction films of all-time after two months in theaters. While its theatrical run has never exceeded 900 screens, “Neighbor” has outgrossed four Disneynature documentaries like “Oceans” and “Monkey Kingdom,” all of which opened to more than 1,000 screens.

While the life and times of Fred Rogers continues to charm audiences, a new documentary, “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood,” had a big start from its single-screen release at the Arclight Hollywood. From that one venue, the documentary made $30,941, putting it second behind “Three Identical Strangers” ($34,301) for per screen averages earned by docs this year.

Released by Greenwich Entertainment, the new documentary explores the life of Scotty Bowers, a bisexual ex-Marine who after World War II became Hollywood’s most popular underground pimp, hooking up closeted celebrities during Tinseltown’s Golden Age. Among the celebrities Bowers says were his clients are Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, while others like Gore Vidal and game show maven Merv Griffin have openly spoken about their time with him. Critics have praised the film, giving it 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the fiction side, Sony Pictures Classics released Marc Turtletaub’s drama “Puzzle” in five theaters, earning a solid per screen average of $12,673 for a total of $63,364. Starring Kelly Macdonald, the film follows a middle-aged mother who finds a passion for jigsaw puzzles, but which results in a conflict with her husband (David Denman) after she begins to grow fond of her supportive puzzle-solving partner (Irrfan Khan). The film has an 87 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Among holdovers, Summit/Lionsgate’s “Blindspotting” expanded to 532 screens in its second weekend, making $1.32 million for a total of just under $1.8 million. Bleecker Street added one screen to “McQueen” for its second weekend, giving it $84,378 from five screens and a per screen average of $16,878. The documentary now has a total of $247,700.

A24’s “Eighth Grade” added $1.3 million from 158 screens in its third weekend, bringing its total to just under $3 million. Annapurna’s “Sorry to Bother You” added $1.45 million from 802 screens to bring its total to $13.3 million. Finally, NEON’s “Three Identical Strangers” added $1.27 million from 433 screens in its fifth weekend to push its total to $6.7 million.

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