‘Architect’ builds house records

Kahn project bows big in Gotham

Docu feature “My Architect,” Nathaniel Kahn’s personal journey into the life and work of his late father, Louis I. Kahn, has broken house records at New York’s Film Forum, posting the venue’s best-ever opening weekend. The release also is on track to top the previous first-week high.

Released by New Yorker Films in association with HBO/Cinemax Documentary Films, “My Architect” was the first docu to open on two screens at Film Forum, grossing $29,160 in its debut weekend, the highest three-day gross for a film since the theater opened in 1970.

Previous record-holder was “Wallace & Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animation,” which bowed with $24,325. Projected first-week gross for “My Architect” of $52,000 also will top the specialty exhib’s existing record of $47,000 in 2000 for Marc Levin’s docu feature on New York City squatters, “Dark Days.”

“It’s been a wonderful year for nonfiction films, and we’re really excited to be part of that and very much looking forward to bringing this film to other theaters around the country,” filmmaker Kahn told Daily Variety.

Perfect venue

“The Film Forum is a theater that played a big role in my life for a lot of years, and it’s where I always wanted to open the film,” he added. “It’s the kind of place I went to see movies that make you see the world in a different way, so to play there and do so well is just the fulfillment of a dream.”

The release is posting stronger-than-average weekday numbers for a docu title, grossing $5,070 Monday in New York and $2,905 the same day on a single screen in Philadelphia. Louis Kahn’s fractious relationship with that city and its urban planning chiefs is one element of the architect’s life chronicled in his son’s film.

New Yorker will expand the release to other Gotham screens Nov. 28. Openings in other key markets are set for January, to coincide with a possible Oscar nomination. Pic is considered among front-runners for Academy consideration in the feature documentary category.

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