With summer just around the corner, the spring theatrical documentary season is about to wrap up. On the horizon are a few of the titles that made waves at Sundance this year (we expect big things for BUCK, PAGE ONE and BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE, among others), while a few late spring titles (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, L'AMOUR FOU) spill over their expansion into the summer months.
So far, 4 of 2011's nonfiction titles have crossed the magical $1 million threshold (with a fifth about to), including two that made it over the top this weekend: Werner Herzog's still-expanding 3D CAVE (which premiered at last year's Toronto Film Festival) and I AM, the big question docu from high concept comedy director Tom Shadyac. The latter has been nursed by distribtutor Paladin (and is by far the micro-distrib's greatest box office success) and has drawn comparisons to the doc/fiction hybrid WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW?, which grossed more than $10M over its long release in 2004.
The other two hits are no big surprise - there's the Biebernaut, NEVER SAY NEVER, which just became the 4th biggest nonfiction hit in history, as well as AFRICAN CATS, the latest in the Disneynature Earth Day franchise. It looks unlikely that CATS will match the dollars made by its predecessors (EARTH made $34M and OCEANS took in $19), but with a haul of nearly $15M, CATS has surpassed CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY to become the #17 docu of all time.