The shocking truth

The shocking truth,” The Economist, Aug 27th 2013

The numbers may be small but they are growing. In 2011 documentary films grossed £11m at the British box office. This was only 1% of the year’s total box-office takings but it was a six-fold increase on the year before. Moreover, while the budgets can be high they are still much cheaper to produce than studio features.

But why are audiences increasingly choosing fact over fiction? Perhaps the current dearth of realism (endless comic-book sequels and apocalyptic action movies) is forcing more discerning viewers to choose authentic storytelling over spectacular visuals and far-fetched plots. Documentaries such as “Blackfish” may also fill a gap in investigative journalism, as fewer newspapers and broadcasters invest in long-term projects.

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