Top five movie trends and surprises of 2010

True stories hit it big at the box office in 2010, while big sequels and 3D features largely fizzled.

By , Staff writer

2. Summer storm of feature documentaries

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    Joan Rivers is shown in a scene from the film, 'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.'
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Feature documentaries proved that real-life doesn’t even need a fictional gloss to succeed. This summer’s crop of feature documentaries hit an all time high of nearly 20 – even during the summer months, a traditional window for box-office candy and popcorn flicks. From the profile of comedian in “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” to “Countdown to Zero” and “Inside Job,” the little films came out of the back row this year.

“It has been a better-than-average year for documentary features,” says Mary Dalton, co-director of the Documentary film Program at Wake Forest University. "This is part of a longer trend that started to build after the commercial success of 'Bowling for Columbine' in theatrical release and the blockbuster status of 'Fahrenheit 9/11.' Docs are usually independently produced and have a lower budget than narrative features,” she adds, noting that they are often seen as a cheap way to fill out programming schedules.

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