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The 15 Highest Grossing Indie Documentaries of 2013

The 15 Highest Grossing Indie Documentaries of 2013

Here’s a chart of 2013’s the highest grossing indie documentaries, led by Morgan Neville’s “20 Feet From Stardom,” which was released by RADiUS-TWC (and is now the distributor’s highest grossing film ever). We only specify “indie” documentaries for one reason: One Direction, whose Morgan Spurlock directed studio film “This is Us” was not tracked by Indiewire’s box office charts, which only includes films that open in limited release. Though 1D fans be calmed: “This Is Us” is indeed the highest grossing documentary of 2013 (and one of the top 10 of all time).

READ MORE: The 25 Highest Grossing Indies of 2013

The list below tracks films as of December 31, 2013. This yer docs have crossed the $1 million mark. Last year, 8 docs ended up hitting that mark.

Check out the list below:

1. 20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS) – $4,794,407
2. The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics)$2,415,727*
3. Blackfish (Magnolia) – $2,073,582
4. Girl Rising (Gathr Films) – $1,620,901
5. Stories We Tell (Roadside Attractions) – $1,600,145
6. Inequality For All (RADiUS) – $1,192,379
7. Generation Iron (The Vladar Company) – $849,521
8. 56 Up (First Run)$701,278
9. Muscle Shoals (Magnolia) – $668,248
10. Salinger (The Weinstein Company) – $583,633
11. Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s (eOne) – $518,342
12. The Act of Killing (Drafthouse) – $459,448
13. Sound City (Variance) – $422,786
14. Dirty Wars (IFC) – $371,245
15. Koch (Zeitgeist) – $342,941

*-Had an Oscar qualifying run in 2012, but was released in 2013.

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Now going to watch Gatekeepers.

The Best Selection


I would love to watch theses documentaries..though I have not watched any one of them..


It would be interesting to see the P&A for those top films. Just from looking at the names of the distributors RADIUS, Magnolia and Sony Pictures, you can tell they probably had bigger promotional budgets thus more exposure and wider theatrical release screenings.


You failed to mention 2 documentaries that would be at the top of the chart. Those being 1D:This is Us and Metallica Through the Never. Personally I won't see either of these films and their absence from the list isn't in any way disappointing, but if you're going for accuracy here then, well, you might want to be accurate.


Can you start listing P&A spends alongside your gross listings so show how films are really performing?

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