The unveiling of HBO’s Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck last night at 9 PM averaged 525,000 viewers of all ages and 370,000 viewers of them were aged 18-49. HBO does not issue same-day stats because, the network accurately says, the stats are a very poor reflection of the performance of its product even on its own schedule. Many other networks also have stopped issuing these early stats for same reason.
For comparison sake, HBO’s recent, much-ballyhooed Going Clear docu, profiling eight former Church of Scientology members, had clocked 1.65 million viewers in a Sunday premiere in late March. That film had opened theatrically in L.A., New York and San Francisco ahead of its HBO premiere. Similarly, before its HBO premiere, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck opened theatrically ahead of its network premiere. HBO Documentary Films launched the Cobain doc in limited qualifying runs over a weekend, ahead of last night’s HBO debut. Initial stats for Friday and Saturday showed the Brett Morgen-directed title at the Arclight Hollywood, the Egyptian in Seattle (where Cobain’s band Nirvana came to prominence) and IFC Center in New York. The Sundance and Berlin feature grossed a robust $107,055 in the three locations over those two nights. Despite the lack of Sunday numbers, the film easily out-grossed the opening numbers for other 2015 documentary debuts including Dior And I ($45,772), The Salt Of The Earth ($44,900), Ballet 422 ($27,656) and Seymour: An Introduction ($26,587).
The three-theater average gave Montage Of Heck a $35,685 PTA. The title played mostly at the huge Dome theater at the Arclight, though additional showings were added in other screens sporadically throughout the weekend.