I recently stumbled on a tiny statistic that startled me.
Have you ever seen the movie, Food, Inc.? The film released in 2009, and opened my eyes to the underbelly of the food industry in a profound way. The movie highlighted who is really controlling our food supply, the loss of the American farmer in our society, and safety issues faced by workers in the food industry.
To be honest, I didn’t really want to see the film. I mean, I had a hunch about what I was getting myself into. At times my stomach turned, but the movie was oh-so-worth it! The documentary changed the way I look at food and think about what I consume. Yes, I still eat meat, but I’m more intentional about where I’ll buy my food and where I won’t. I read labels more diligently. I pay extra for things like organic and free-range (and am grateful for stores making these products more affordable–a shout out to Sunflower Market!).
I know lots of others who had their perception of the food industry profoundly reshaped through this movie, and I’m grateful for it.
But back the little statistic that caught my attention.. Do you know what the box office revenues were for Food, Inc.?
A measly 4.5 million. In a box office universe where some films that take in several hundred million are consider failures (Water World, anyone?), 4.5 doesn’t each register. But the film was never about money as much as it was about impact. The movie helped open a generation’s eyes as well as the eyes of some much needed food regulators. In box office terms, the film was hardly remarkable. But in influence terms, the film was a blockbuster.
Sometimes we need to re-examine the scales and lenses we’ve used in the past to measure influence, and take a closer look at what’s really making a difference.