'March' To Box Office Success

It's got no big stars, and no special effects. So how did a low-budget documentary about the family life of penguins become a summer blockbuster?

CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod reports "March of the Penguins," a documentary about the penguin's struggle to reproduce, has put the traditional formula for the summer blockbusters on ice.

"There aren't a lot of movies like this out there, let's be honest," says moviegoer Terri D'Angelos.

The film tells the story of a penguin mom, a penguin dad and a soon-to-be-hatched penguin chick. Dad keeps the eggs safe and warm in 60-below weather, and mom walks 70 miles to find food for the chicks.

"It's about passion," says moviegoer Sue Meyers. "And obsession and love and family and survival."

It may strike you as one of those niche art house films, but what Warner Brothers bought from a French filmmaker for $1 million, could do $60 million at the box office.

Mark Gill, president of Warner Independent Pictures, explains, "This is a grand slam, out of the park home run. It's the thing we all pray for in our careers. it's an unbelievable piece of good fortune."

When you look at some the summer of 2005's hits – "War of the Worlds, "Batman," even "Wedding Crashers" – they're movies that cost tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars to make. But percentage-wise, it's the penguins that'll turn the biggest profit.

"I think there is a little desire amongst the audience to find something that's just a little different," says Time magazine film critic Richard Schickel.

Shickel says its success is simple. The birds remind us, of us. Or at least, the us we'd like to be. He explains, "This movie, even though it's about birds, is a wonderful lesson in family values."

A lesson that's playing well in states both red and blue. Throw in all that Antarctic white, and you've got one thing many Americans seem able to agree on this summer.

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