SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment today announced the launch of Turtle: The Incredible Journey, a family documentary directed by National Geographic Explorer's Nick Stringer. The film will be distributed in partnership with Hannover House by SeaWorld's newly formed SeaWorld Pictures division. Hannover House is the entertainment unit of Target Development Group (Pinksheets: TDGI).
Turtle: The Incredible Journey is an award-winning film that follows the life and migration of a loggerhead turtle from hatching to maturity and a return to its original Florida nesting grounds. The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, has one of the longest and most difficult migratory patterns of any marine animal: Sea turtles newly hatched on the East Coast of the United States (usually in Florida) make their way from the sand into the ocean, and then begin a voyage that can span the entire Atlantic Ocean, only to return decades later to that same beach.
"This is a remarkable story crafted by one of the world's most gifted documentary filmmakers," said Scott Helmstedter, Chief Creative Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "Turtle: The Incredible Journey does what our parks have been doing for more than five decades: inspire, enrich and entertain. Helping bring this film and its powerful message of the fragility and beauty of our oceans to the public is what SeaWorld is and what we have always been about."
Nick Stringer's documentary team follows the loggerhead turtle on an adventure of more than 9,000 miles guided only by instinct. Stringer and his camera crew spent two years following loggerhead turtles on their trips across the ocean, and have captured on film the remarkable life cycle of a beautiful creature that struggles to survive in an increasingly unforgiving environment.
The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Miranda Richardson, and will be released to theaters in both standard theatrical formats as well as 3D in selected locations.
Turtle: The Incredible Journey opens the same week as SeaWorld San Diego's Turtle Reef, a new attraction that showcases this extraordinary species in a 300,000-gallon aquarium with a massive underwater viewing gallery. The attraction also features thousands of tropical fish, a touch-screen interactive tracking map where guests can learn about sea turtles and SeaWorld's rescue efforts. Turtle Reef also includes a new ride that takes guests on a thrilling rescue mission of their own.
Initial theatrical markets set for June 24 include New York, Los Angeles and theaters near three primary SeaWorld locations: San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando. The film's official premiere is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21 at the large-format 3D theater at SeaWorld in San Diego.
Expansion plans call for the release of the film to additional theaters and cities throughout July and August, with a target of more than 200 locations.