So we wake up this morning to a tweet from The Auteurs Daily that read:
We knew right away that Horn, a favorite of ours, would be trying to wrap the somewhat disappointing numbers for THE COVE (should it have been a $4 million grosser instead of, what appears will be, a $2 million dollar grosser?) into a larger sky-is-falling treatise on the difficulties besetting theatrical docs. We've been here before - remember when Horn declared that the failure of YOUNG@HEART (which stopped a hair short of $4M) was proof that documentaries had lost "theatrical muscle".
THE COVE's difficulties are central to Horn's latest article, which is headlined Environmental movies have a green problem: money, but the rest of the piece is kind of a muddle. Sure, FOOD INC. is doing "remarkably well" according to Horn ($3.6 million to date) but why didn't the Oscar nominated THE GARDEN do better ($27K)? Horn doesn't see much theatrical future for DIRT! THE MOVIE but anticipates NO IMPACT MAN could be a big hit.
Horn's main thesis seems to be that while there will be an occasional success the best outlet for environmental movies are either a.) IMAX, b.) television or c.) the green channel at SnagFilms.
But here's our question: Can you really write a piece about the theatrical viability of environmental documentaries and fail to mention the biggest nonfiction film of the year?
DisneyNature's EARTH may be a cousin to the "largely feel-good, family-friendly Imax movies (that) play forever" and not an advocacy film like some of the others in Horn's article, but there's no question that it's an environmental movie. It was pegged to Earth Day for goodness sakes. And it's made more than $32 million dollars from what was, essentially, a recycled television show.
It kinda boggles the mind.