After seven weeks of commercial release, Morgan Neville‘s Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the gentle memory-lane doc about Fred Rogers, has earned $19,343,937. It will most likely top $20 million within the next few days or certainly within a week. The money alone almost guarantees a Best Feature Documentary Oscar win next year — a nomination was locked in weeks ago.
Neighbor is currently 14th on the boxofficemojo list of all-time grossing docs (Farenheit 9/11 and March of the Penguins way higher at $119 million and $77 million respectively), but it’s the all-time highest grossing biographical doc as well as the top-earning doc over the past five years.
From “Mr. Love Sweater,” posted on 6.17.18: “Do I think that the vibe of kindness and caring that the film radiates…do I think this special warmth, this dandelion pollen from Planet Rogers is what we all could use to de-toxify those awful, noxious Trump vibes? Can the spirit of Mr. Rogers reach out from behind the membrane and heal our country’s divisions?
“Naahh. I think you could feed bowls of kindness and consideration and emotional caresses to Trump voters from now until doomsday and they’d still be clueless fucks. They’re damaged, deluded. Hell, many of them are racist ghouls. Redemption for folks of this sort is generally out of the question. I don’t want to listen to these monsters — I want to defeat them at the Battle of Gettysburg.
“And speaking of Republicans, there’s something a tiny bit bothersome about the fact that Fred Rogers was one of them. I can’t shake this off. A lifelong Republican, I’ve read. Which meant what exactly? That he probably voted for Eisenhower and Nixon, probably believed in “traditional values”, probably approved of the Vietnam War, was probably skeptical of the anti-war left? You tell me.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is selling tickets, I suspect, because the little kids who loved Mr. Rogers 40 or 50 years ago are now in their 50s or 60s and are probably looking to re-experience that tenderness, those feelings, that kindly atmosphere. But I also suspect (this is just a guess) that this film is reaching only 50-plus types. Okay, maybe to their kids or grandkids in some instances. It’s almost certainly not touching under-35 types. It’s an analog memory-lane thing.”