Otto Bell documentary approaches $1.5 mil. mark in total earnings
The Eagle Huntress continues to do phenomenonal business at the box office.
The documentary by Otto Bell finished as the number one nonfiction film again over the weekend, earning another $200,000 according to audience measurement firm comScore. After six weeks of release the film has made just under $1.5 mil.
The film has exceeded all of our expectations.
The Eagle Huntress tells the story of 13-year-old Aisholpan, a girl in the Altai Mountains of Mongolia who dreams of becoming the first female eagle hunter in her country's history. The arduous task involves trapping an eagle chick, training it to adulthood and testing the bird's hunting skill in competition (eventually the eagle is returned to the wild).
At the IDA Awards in Hollywood on Friday, Nonfictionfilm.com spoke with Stacey Reiss, producer of The Eagle Huntress, who offered her explanation of the film's success.
"It's a really universal story of a young woman going after something that she dreamed of doing and the story of a father and daughter and a family supporting her," Reiss said. "I think that those are themes that we all can relate to and especially right now. This hopeful story is one I think people are really responding to."
The producer expressed surprise at The Eagle Huntress' box office performance. "The film has exceeded all of our expectations. It's a foreign language documentary shot entirely on location in Mongolia for a very small budget."
Coming in second among documentaries at the box office was Mifune: The Last Samurai, about the late Japanese film star Toshiro Mifune. Steven Okazaki directed the documentary, which includes the participation of Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.
Third place went to Seasons, the latest nature documentary by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. The New York Times' critic Jeannette Catsoulis called the film "mesmeric." Her review continued, "Beasts of all varieties and sizes scamper and slink, gallop and play, fight and reproduce for the movie’s crew of sharpshooting cinematographers. The images are gobsmackingly gorgeous, the animals so close we can see the ripple of muscle in a wild horse’s flank."
Fourth place was claimed by the Jim Jarmusch documentary Gimme Danger, about the influential rock group The Stooges and frontman Iggy Pop. After seven weeks of release the film has earned $431,212.
In fifth came Harry Benson: Shoot First, a documentary about brilliant Scottish photographer Harry Benson, whose many subjects include The Beatles, Muhammad Ali, Greta Garbo and Michael Jackson, to name but a few. Justin Bare and Matthew Miele co-directed the film, a Magnolia Pictures release.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.