Thanks in no small part to Blackfish, the documentary exposing mistreatment of killer whales at SeaWorld, the theme park is changing its ways.
SeaWorld on Monday announced that it will phase out its orca show in the wake of persistent criticism from animal activists regarding the killer whales in captivity — backlash due, in part, to the 2013 film.
Blackfish wouldn't be the first documentary to inspire change. Here are five others that made their mark beyond the bigscreen:
1. The Cove
The Cove, which shed light on dolphin hunting on Japan's Taiji Cove, won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2009, and its success arguably paved the way for Blackfish. After The Cove was released, the number of dolphin killings in Japan saw a significant drop.
2. Super Size Me
Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary charted his own month of eating nothing but McDonalds, thereby revealing just how detrimental fast food can be for your health. Around the time of Super Size Me's release, McDonalds removed the "Supersize" options from its menu, and later began posting nutritional information on its menu boards as well as including healthier alternatives.
3. The Age of Stupid
A British drama-documentary-animation hybrid, The Age of Stupid takes place in 2055, with its protagonist watching archived footage from the mid-2000's and asking why we didn't all do something about climate change when we had the chance. The film prompted its audience to ask the same question, and inspired the 10:10 carbon-cutting initiative, launched in 46 countries.
4. Bowling for Columbine
Michael Moore's 2009 documentary took on the circumstances behind the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. In a key moment, Moore took two surviving victims of the shooting to KMart headquarters, and asked for a refund on the bullets still lodged in their bodies. KMart soon after stopped selling handgun ammunition.
5. The Thin Blue Line
You might call this one the original . It didn't exactly change the world, but The Thin Blue Line did change a life. Randall Dale Adams, who was sent to jail for the murder of a police officer, had his case reviewed after the documentary. He was found innocent and released from prison approximately a year after the film was released.