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Where has all the ‘green’ gone in Hollywood?

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Adult dramas aren’t the only films struggling to find audiences these days -- well-reviewed eco-docs are suffering a similar fate. Times staff writer John Horn has the full report in his ‘Word of Mouth’ column:

Interest in the environment is heating up as fast as global warming. Contributions to the Sierra Club soared 33% last year, homeowners are installing solar panels, and even preschool children are recycling. At the same time, nonfiction filmmakers are trying to shape the ecological conversation, turning out an abundance of critically acclaimed, Earth-friendly documentaries.

But three years after ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ won over moviegoers and Oscar voters, many new works are suffering the same fate plaguing other intellectually engaging films: moviegoers would rather hug Transformers than trees.

“Food, Inc.,” a documentary about the dangers of the food supply, has done remarkably well since its June 12 premiere, grossing $3.6 million to date. Some upcoming documentaries -- including Sept. 11’s “No Impact Man,’ about one man’s obsessive yearlong quest to live sustainably -- could well leave an equally impressive box-office mark.

But because ticket buyers prefer escapist fare these days, it’s not easy being green. Just as audiences have shied away from highbrow dramas, ticket buyers have been reluctant to swim to “The Cove,” a documentary on Japanese dolphin killing that has some of the year’s best reviews. Despite a ton of publicity, ‘The Cove’ labored after expanding into limited national release last weekend. ‘It’s not what we would have hoped,’ says Howard Cohen, whose Roadside Attractions is releasing the film. ‘There’s no question that we have a challenge in front of us. When people hear there is violence against animals, it’s tough for them to think about it. But the concept of the movie is much more off-putting than the experience of watching it.’

Read the full story here.

Photo from ‘The Cove’ from Roadside Attractions.



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