The most astonishing thing about Duma isn't the film itself; it's how difficult it's been for this beautiful film to get into theaters where people can see it. Roger Ebert campaigned for the film back in August of last year, and at that time noted Warner Bros. exec Dan Fellman said the studio, which also distributed runaway success March of the Penguins, was disappointed in the film's box office returns. Fellman expressed surprise at the time that one film was so successful while the other struggled, in spite of positive response from audience members and critics alike.
Duma was directed by Carroll Ballard, who has previously made some great family films, including The Black Stallion and Fly Away Home. With Ballard at the helm giving us his hallmark spectacular landscapes and fantastic cinematography, and a compelling story about a boy and his cheetah, you'd think Duma would have had no trouble making its mark. Yet according to Box Office Mojo, Duma has currently brought in only $870,00 at the box office, compared to March of the Penguins gargantuan take of nearly $77.5 million. And having seen both films, I can't understand why, unless it just comes down to Penguins having a broader appeal or being better marketed.