CATEGORIES Documentary, Independent, Box Office, Family Films, Cinematical Indie, UK Box Office, Cinematical, UK Box OfficeIn a classic case of doc vs. doc, nature vs. nurture, environmental doc The 11th Hour battled video gaming doc The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters for top honors among limited engagement earners this past weekend -- and the environment won, according to Leonard Klady of Movie City News. Klady's estimates put The 11th Hour in first place with a per-screen average of $14,700 at four locations for an estimated total of $58,800 for distributor Warner Independent. Cinematical's Ryan Stewart felt it had little new information to offer but "overall, The 11th Hour does a serviceable job of preaching to the environmental choir." Rotten Tomatoes rates reviews as being 79% positive.
Trailing not far behind was The King of Kong (I really don't like that needless titular verbiage). Scott Weinberg saw it at SXSW and gave it high marks; I saw it a couple of weeks later at AFI Dallas and loved it. For my money -- or quarters, if you insist -- it's one of the best movies of the year because of its keen sense of humanity; the snappy pace and non-condescending sense of humor helps too. Of the 36 reviews accumulated so far at Rotten Tomatoes, only one has been negative, giving it a 97% positive rating. The King of Kong averaged $10,300 per screen at five theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Austin; distributor Picturehouse will expand it to more cities in the coming weeks.
Nature doc Arctic Tale, which Paramount Vantage pitched to family audiences, lured very few paying customers. Klady estimated a per-screen average of just $830 during a weekend in which the picture was expanded to 227 theaters. Our own Jette Kernion was none too impressed, noting: "I think it would play just as well on a television, perhaps on DVD if your family didn't want to sit through 90 minutes of nature film all at once." That seems to be what most parents have decided to do -- wait for the DVD.