Documentary Box Office Earnings in 2018

This is is VERY encouraging, and very much in line with what I’ve been saying about a golden age for documentary. 

Here are all-time documentary box office earnings from Box Office Mojo. What do you notice that’s interesting? We see that several types of film are big earners: 

 – controversial or partisan political docs. Michael Moore has four in the top 30 and Dinesh D’Souza has three. 

– animal and nature documentaries (which was surprising to me even though I love March of the Penguins) 

– singer or celebrity based documentaries (not surprising because of the star power) 

– but LOOK at this: there are SEVEN documentaries from this year among the top 100

Three of them are excellent biopics: Won’t You Be My Neighbor is my favorite, but RBG is very well done and Whitney does a great job of paying tribute to the talented singer. 

One is another partisan political doc (D’Souza again), there are two nature docs and Three Identical Strangers, which is just a good, crazy story. 

Most of you should know how I feel about partisan bully pulpits that degrade an art form especially suited to generate empathy (or if not you will if you keep following me). Here I’m looking at Moore and 

D’Souza, who capitalize on the human desire to be told what we want to hear. Celebrity docs can be fun, and like the excellent Mr. Rodgers documentary can be done well, allowing the notoriety of the subject to reach a wider audience. Nature docs can be helpful as well. 

But what’s REALLY encouraging is to see so many movies from this year jump these financial hurdles. It means people are watching documentaries, many of them GOOD documentaries, and if they are watching, it opens the door for more good documentaries to be made. Well done filmmakers,

well done.

Thanks @documentarysite for bringing this to my attention!