×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Free Solo’ Documentary Climbs Indie Box Office With Best Screen Average of 2018

Free Solo,” National Geographic’s exhilarating adventure documentary about the first free solo rock climb of Yosemite’s El Capitan, notched the best screen average of the year to date. It picked up $300,804 when it debuted this weekend on four screens, translating to $75,201 per location.

That distinction previously belonged to Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade.” The A24 coming-of-age film starring Elsie Fisher launched earlier this year in four theaters with $255,000 — or $63,071 per venue. Prior to that, Fox Searchlight’s “Isle of Dogs,” the Wes Anderson stop-motion animation film, topped records with $60,011 per screen after opening in March with $1.6 million from 27 locations.

If weekend estimates hold, “Free Solo” will also rank as the best theater average ever for a documentary, besting “An Inconvenient Truth.” Al Gore’s global warming doc pocketed $70,333 per screen when it launched in four locations in 2006. It went on to earn $49 million worldwide.

Filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and photographer Jimmy Chin directed “Free Solo,” which follows free soloist climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to scale the 3,000 foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without a rope. It currently holds a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie comes on the heels of a number of successful docs finding their footing in theaters. “RBG,” centering on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as well as the Mr. Rogers feature “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Three Identical Strangers,” which follows three triplets separated at birth, were just a few documentaries to resonate with audiences and turn a profit at the box office over the past few months.

“In a year where audiences are recognizing the power of seeing docs on the big screen, it’s so gratifying to see ‘Free Solo’ embraced as the thrilling theatrical experience that it is,” National Geographic global networks CEO Courteney Monroe said.

More Film

  • Scarlett Johansson arrives at the premiere

    Scarlett Johansson on Running for Office: 'Maybe at Some Point'

    Pres. Scarlett Johansson, anyone? While she may not be running for office at the moment, Johansson says a campaign may be in her future. “Maybe some time in the future,” she says when asked if her political activism has inspired her own aspirations. “I think the greatest way to effect change is in local politics. [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Netflix Acquires Tribeca Doc 'Circus of Books,' Exec Produced by Ryan Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rachel Mason wrote and directed the pic, and also produced it along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman executive produced. [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

  • Brie Larson Takes On 'Beat Saber'

    Brie Larson Takes on 'Beat Saber' With Jimmy Fallon

    “Avengers: Endgame’s” Brie Larson took to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to play around in virtual reality. After chatting with Fallon about the upcoming Marvel superhero flick, Larson got hooked up with an HTC Vive with the talk show hit to give “Beat Saber” a try. Fallon was first up, who played through a [...]

  • Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan

    Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan Doc Hits Netflix June 12 (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, but Bob Dylan fans have been waiting for some kind of reliable forecast to know when “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” might be rolling in. Here’s that storm alert: Netflix will be releasing the documentary June 12. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Box Office: 'Avengers: Endgame' Racks Up Massive $169 Million Globally

    “Avengers: Endgame” is barreling toward a record-eviscerating weekend after opening to a mighty $169 million in its initial day of global release. That heroic haul includes a $107.5 million debut in China, an $8.4 million launch in South Korea, a $7 million bow in Australia and a $6 million day one in France. All in, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content