As the distribution landscape continues to evolve, it's difficult for filmmakers to keep up. How can one possibly anticipate trends in an ever-changing marketplace? Documentaries, in particular, are subject to extreme variability; forecasting success at the box office for nonfiction films can be akin to reading tea leaves.
"We all work in the shadow of Michael Moore," said Molly Thompson, founder of A&E Indie Films, at a recent panel at the 2018 AFI Docs forum and film festival. "Fahrenheit 9/11 did $150 million in the box office. Nobody has the magic formula!"