“Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,” was released this weekend and saw impressive numbers at the box office. The film raked in $1.9 million, making it the most successful opening weekend of any documentary or specialty film in the pandemic-era.
This is a great sign for documentaries in the post-pandemic world. Arthouse theaters saw a nice boost in revenue as a result of the film as well. Beyond its financial success, the film has been critically well received, with a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The documentary was directed by Morgan Neville, who also helmed the critical and financial success “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” That Fred Rogers documentary remains the highest grossing biographical documentary of all time. While the release strategy for the two films was dramatically different, “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” was able to gross about four times more than “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” on their respective opening weekends.
The film chronicles the life of Anthony Bourdain from his humble beginnings as a chef and author to his rise to the throne of travel TV. It reportedly does not shy away from the subject of Bourdain’s tragic death by suicide in 2018.
While the film has been generally well-received, there was a bit of outrage online over something Neville admitted in an interview with “The New Yorker.” He shared that he used artificial intelligence to replicate Bourdain’s voice for the documentary. The voice reportedly says things that he never actually said out loud. While that may sound a bit ethically questionable, the voice was only used to say what Bourdain himself had written during his life.
You can see “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” in theaters now.