Expelled's Box Office Success Bucks Industry Trend

The box-office troubles of docs such as "Bigger, Faster, Stronger" is in contrast to Expelled's impact.

The LA Times runs a story this week on the downturn in box office fortunes for the documentary film genre. The inability of well crafted docs about front burner issues such as Iraq or steroids to reach audiences and to catalyze policy debate makes the impact of Expelled (see column) that much more troubling and suprising.

As the LA Times reports:

Critically acclaimed films about provocative subjects struggle to make money all the time, but rarely have so many lauded documentaries consistently failed to connect at the box office. The recent nonfiction returns have been so bleak that several distributors are growing wary about taking on such highbrow works, an alarming development in a pop culture universe already dominated by "American Idol," James Frey and US Weekly.

"It's unlike anything I've seen before," says Michael Barker, whose Sony Pictures Classics has released the documentary duds "Standard Operating Procedure," "Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains" and "My Kid Could Paint That," none of which grossed more than $250,000 theatrically. "Unless you have movie stars like Michael Moore or Al Gore associated with your film, you can't sell tickets."

22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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