ABSTRACT

Why bother with theatrical releases when documentaries notoriously don’t get great tickets sales? After speaking on a panel at Sheffield Doc Festival the distributor Dogwoof’s Oli Harbottle pointed out that, as an indie distributor, the term “theatrical doc” is something of a misnomer. “That’s not where money is made. It’s completely an awareness platform,” he said, later adding that, for Dogwoof, theatrical success often means wide editorial coverage and social media impressions. “When a film is released in the cinemas, we’re looking at how many pre-orders we had on iTunes, and on Amazon for DVD, because that’s the purpose of us doing theatrical. I would say 1 in 10 films makes money at the box office theatrically. It’s a very expensive exercise to get films out there.”