After scaling the box office summit for large-format films with “Everest,” MacGillivray Freeman Films has similarly elevated hopes for “Coral Reef Adventure.”
The documentary on imperiled South Pacific coral reefs has already cleared $18 million at 32 museum-based screens. It debuted in Los Angeles Oct. 3 for a 10-day run; plans call for going into as many as 180 playdates next year.
Gross, by far the biggest for any docu this year, nearly equals the $21 million “Bowling for Columbine” took in domestically during an 11-month run.
Director-producer Greg MacGillivray admits the $10 million “Coral Reef” project is a labor of love driven by the desire to draw attention to the loss of the reefs — particularly with the box office split a mere 15% for MacGillivray Freeman.
He projects “Reef” will eventually break even by topping $60 million and could go to $80 million — not nearly the $122 million heights that “Everest” climbed but impressive considering the softer attendance at museums after 9/11.
“It’s a huge risk, but you really can’t miss with the visuals of the South Pacific and the personalities of the divers,” MacGillivray asserts.
His next project, a docu on the Nile River and its impact on Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, will begin shooting next month.