Documentaries: Box Office Wimps

Even with critical acclaim, they can't draw decent audiences
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2008 5:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Although big-name documentaries such as An Inconvenient Truth and Sicko have raised the genre's profile, recent ones just aren't pulling in audiences, the Los Angeles Times reports. The critically acclaimed steroid film Bigger, Stronger, Faster has grossed only $164,000 since its release three weeks ago, and the Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side topped out at $275,000.

"It's unlike anything I've ever seen before," said one studio exec. Distributors speculate that the drop in attendance has to do with heavy-handed subject matter and election-year fatigue that has people looking for popcorn flicks, but it may be part of a wider trend—the gap between the highest-grossing films and lowest-grossing films continues to grow. "It costs too much money and too much effort to break through," an industry insider says.