Award-winning Sundance documentary Weiner — which chronicles disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s scandal-plagued 2013 New York mayoral bid — opened atop the specialty box office this weekend, even as its subjects, Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, have reportedly not yet seen the film.
According to Deadline, the film — which took the top documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year — opened to the best per-theater average among non-fiction releases this year at the specialty box office. The film, from directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, took in $85,525 from just five theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
Weiner centers on the former Congressman’s infamous sexting scandal and fall from grace, and then his eventual, unlikely return to run for mayor of New York. The film was reportedly put together from more than 400 hours of behind-the-scenes access into Weiner’s campaign, and also focuses on his relationship with his wife and top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The trailer for the film (above) debuted online last month.
On Saturday, co-director Kriegman told the New York Post that both Weiner and Abedin had yet to see the finished film. According to an early review, the film features footage of Hillary Clinton staffers pressuring Abedin to step back from Weiner’s campaign.
“We’ve offered to show it to them and they still haven’t seen it,” Kriegman told the paper at the film’s New York premiere.
The documentary has earned rave reviews; it currently sits at an impressive 91 percent on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Associated Press critic Jocelyn Noveck called it “riveting filmmaking — as a portrait of a campaign in crisis, of a fascinatingly flawed politician, and especially of a marriage.”
Some supporters of Hillary Clinton have expressed fear that the timing of the film’s release could prove problematic for her presidential campaign.
Showtime is set to air the film across all of its channels beginning in October.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum