Surprisingly, a documentary, “The Volcano: Rescue from Whakaari,” is becoming as famous on Netflix as the ever-present “Wednesday” and the powerful “Harry and Meghan.”
Director Rory Kennedy’s film about 47 visitors and guides trapped during a volcanic eruption off the coast of New Zealand in December 2019 opened at number one in the United States on Wednesday. Minute by minute, Kennedy tells what happened based on what people there said. He does this to show both the power of nature and the kindness of strangers.
On Wednesday, “The Volcano” topped the Netflix global charts in several nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and much of Europe.
Most Netflix originals and seasonal shows don’t do as well, so this is a very big deal. An insider at Netflix remarked that it was extremely unusual for a documentary feature to generate so much attention around the world, citing only the likes of “The Tinder Swindler,” “Ghislaine Maxwell: Filthy Rich,” and “The Redeem Team,” about the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team, as comparable examples.
This is Kennedy and the streamer’s second recent joint project. Her earlier film, “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing,” was about the horrifying crashes caused by software problems in the Boeing 737 Max, and she directed that one as well.
“Volcano” has an impressive lineage. It was made by Leonardo DiCaprio’s company, Appian Way, along with Imagine Documentaries and Moxie Films. The executive producers are Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Jennifer Davisson, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Phillip Watson. Co-executive producer Alex Perry’s credits
Mark Bailey and Dallas Brennan Rexer wrote the script, and Hans Zimmer wrote the original score. The heads of Imagine Docs, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes, worked on the project alongside producers Bailey, Kennedy, and Rexer.