A documentary about the late Ayrton Senna is on course for worldwide release next year following some early promising audience figures in Japan.
The feature-length film, Senna, has exceeded box office predictions in Japan after having its premiere last month and, providing it is similarly successful when released in Brazil next week, the film is well set for widespread distribution.It is expected that other countries will have their film release dates linked in to coincide with their grands prix.
"It will go on general release," Senna producer James Gay-Rees said in Brazil. "The good news is that it is doing very well in Japan, above and beyond Universal's estimates, which is very heartening.
"They don't release this sort of thing very often, so if it does well in Japan and does well here [in Brazil] then hopefully all the other major territories, who are pretty pumped up about it, will be tracked with the grands prix because it seems to be working following that strategy.
"Hopefully, the other territories will track the grands prix. Trying to plan film release dates is a unique science."
The movie has drawn rave reviews from those who have seen it, with McLaren boss Ron Dennis offering his own praise for what has been produced.
"Ayrton won all his World Championships and almost all his grands prix for McLaren, so naturally McLaren occupies a very significant place in the Senna story – and, it logically follows, in the Senna movie too," said Dennis. "I was interviewed a number of times for the film, and have now viewed it in its finished form. To say that I enjoyed it would be trite and inappropriate – the story is an emotional one and I'm sure the vast majority of viewers will therefore be touched emotionally when they see it told on the silver screen.
"But the most important question is this: is the film a faithful and fitting tribute to the man? And in my opinion the answer is: yes, it is."
Ayrton's nephew Bruno Senna, who is now pursuing his own F1 career, was present at the Brazilian premiere earlier this week and said he was equally impressed by the film.
"The movie's awesome," he said. "It reminded me of so many things that just got dulled by time. It's very special for me, I think for anyone who's a racing driver it's going to be quite special, whoever was a fan of Ayrton. For people who didn't know Ayrton, they will have a pretty good image of what Ayrton was all about.
"It's not a movie about racing itself, but it's a movie about the life of Ayrton, the implications of what he did in his life. It feels very special and definitely brought back many memories – good memories and some sad memories as well, of course."