Space documentary has crossover potential

In one of the biggest nonfiction acquisitions ever, ThinkFilm’s $2.5 million purchase of David Sington’s Apollo space doc “In the Shadow of the Moon” also marks the company’s biggest cash outlay and P&A commitment, according to ThinkFilm’s Mark Urman.

“It definitely has both the spectacle that one expects from a crossover documentary and the spirit, humanity and entertainment value that all the most successful nonfiction films have,” he explains. “And we all know it’s possible to do more with a big documentary than ever before.”

Release date: Sept. 7 (Lincoln Square, N.Y.; ArcLight, L.A.)

Release pattern: Aiming for at least 100 screens by the end of September; into tertiary markets in October.

Promo: Partnering with science and natural history museums (premiere event at New York’s Museum of Natural History, with the help of broadcast collaborator Discovery); NASA (on July 20 anniversary of moon landing, screened at all NASA institutions); educational outreach (bookmarks, glow-in-the-dark pencils); even religious groups and conservative journalistic pockets “where there is an appetite for supporting something that is positive about America, American activities and human endeavors,” Urman notes.

Boosters: “Apollo 13″ helmer Ron Howard has signed on as presenter. Veteran journalists Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace have also hosted screenings, as have influence-makers such as Jean Kennedy Smith and Hearst Magazine’s Popular Mechanics.

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