The mountain climbing doc from Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi is nearing $2 mil. elevation
Meru, the edge-of-your seat movie about a death-defying attempt to summit India's Mt. Meru, is achieving new heights at the specialty box office (okay, that's the last climbing play-on-words, I promise).
The documentary directed by climber/photographer Jimmy Chin, and his wife, non-climber/filmmaker E. Chai Vasarhelyi, earned another $161,795 in theaters over the weekend, pushing its impressive total to $1,949,012, according to box office analysis firm Rentrak.
It's rare for a documentary to surpass the $1 mil. mark, let alone $2 mil. Meru played on 145 screens over the weekend, wide for a non-fiction film.
It will undoubtedly cross the $2 mil. mark this coming weekend, with new screens being added in Providence, Rhode Island, Casper, Wyoming, Burien, Washington and Sedona, Ariz., among other locations.
Promotion for the documentary has emphasized that it was made entirely without the re-creations common to most climbing films. The photography is courtesy of Chin, fellow climber Renan Ozturk and a photographer at base camp [read the Q&A with the filmmakers to hear more about how they captured the breathtaking imagery].
Meru is one of at least three climbing-themed docs to reach screens this year. Sunshine Superman, about BASE-jumping pioneer Carl Boenish, hit theaters in late May, earning $87,000 according to imdb.com. Sherpa, a documentary about the tragedy that struck the guides who who risk their lives escorting international climbers up Mt. Everest, played the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. It debuts in US theaters October 2.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.