We're more than six months into 2010, a year that is proving remarkably rich for documentary film, with a strong list of titles vying for festival (and future critics') laurels and for box office success. We unveiled our 2010 Nonfiction Honor Roll in May (it's now updated to include more recent festivals like Silverdocs, LAFF and Edinburgh) and today we kick off the 2010 Nonfiction Feature Box Office. [The latter is called a Top 20, but since it's still early as far as the theatrical year goes, we've currently just got the top 10.]
Laura Poitras' THE OATH still commands the Honor Roll, with 7 awards from top festivals, including a Best Documentary win at Edinburgh. Jeff Malmberg's MARWENCOL is a close 2nd with 6 prizes, including the Cinematic Vision Award at AFI Silverdocs and the Documentary Grand Jury prize at Seattle. Other films with awards from multiple festivals include BUDRUS, ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE, A FILM UNFINISHED. FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, GASLAND, LAST TRAIN HOME, MY PERESTROIKA, PRESUMED GUILTY, RESTREPO, STEAM OF LIFE, THUNDER SOUL, WAR DON DON and Lucy Walker's Audience Award favorite WASTE LAND.
In theatres, Disneynature's release of OCEANS still leads the year, with nearly $20M in box office, followed by BABIES with nearly $7.5M, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP (about to cross the $3M threshold) and JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, currently at $2.3M. Both RESTREPO and Oliver Stone's SOUTH OF THE BORDER have shown solid numbers in thus far limited release. Frederick Wiseman's LA DANSE was a surprise box office hit released in late 2009.
It's worth noting that a number of the year's highest profile docs haven't been released in theatres yet and haven't been playing widely on the festival circuit (thus not racking up the competition prizes), to wit: ARMADILLO, CATFISH, INSIDE JOB, SMASH HIS CAMERA, THE TILLMAN STORY and WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN". All could end up on the box office list by year's end - and more than a few could rake in end-of-year award nods.
We've named 27 films above. How many of the above might make the Academy's shortlist of 15 come November?