There’s been enough ink spilled on Michael Moore to fill a GM plant, but it would be inconceivable to exclude him from this year’s list of mavericks. Moore, complete with his signature Michigan State hat and down-with-Bush battle cry, draws admirers and critics alike, but there’s no denying his vast impact on the doc industry.
Hype about Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 started before the doc was released. After Miramax Film Corp. parent company Walt Disney decided not to release the film, Miramax heads Bob and Harvey Weinstein bought it back from the house of mouse and distributed it through IFC and Lions Gate Films.
The doc then raked in roughly US$200 million from cinemas worldwide – the highest grossing doc in history, and the first to premiere at number one at the box office in its opening weekend.
Although some doc-makers dismiss 50-year-old Moore as an attention seeker that focuses his films more on himself than the issue he’s investigating, his success has helped bring docs into mainstream culture. Even those who haven’t seen his movies dissect car companies, kid killers and questionable world leaders have probably had a few water cooler conversations about his ‘Shame on you, Mr. Bush’ Oscar acceptance speech.
Moore’s website proves his business savvy. Visitors can learn about Moore’s latest tour (he recently did a 60-city stint across the U.S. to get students to vote in the presidential election), buy one of his best-selling books, such as Dude, Where’s My Country?, or – for those that slept through last summer – reserve tickets to see Fahrenheit in a U.S. theater.
He’s currently working on his next doc, tentatively called Sicko, which probes America’s healthcare system. Due out in 2005, Miramax has reportedly signed on to fund and distribute the film. Realscreen‘s rooting for another box office record, as should all factual filmmakers.