From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event fifty years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future.
Release Date: 8 March 2019 (USA)
In its opening weekend, Apollo 11 grossed $1.6 million from 120 theatres (a per-venue gross of $13,392), finishing 15th at the box office. In its second weekend, the film gave up most of its IMAX venues to newcomer Captain Marvel, but played in a total of 405 traditional theaters and made $1.3 million, finishing 10th at the box office
Upon its premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the film received positive reviews from critics, who mostly praised the quality of the film’s footage. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 81 reviews, with an average rating of 9.12/10. The website’s critical consensus reads, “Edifying and inspiring in equal measure, Apollo 11 uses artfully repurposed archival footage to send audiences soaring back to a pivotal time in American history.” On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 92 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
In a positive review for IndieWire, David Ehrlich complimented Miller’s ability to make the Moon landing sequence feel unique and thrilling, and stated that the clarity of the footage “takes your breath away”. In another positive review, Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the footage “quite spectacular”, and many critics compared the documentary to Damien Chazelle’s 2018 Neil Armstrong biopic First Man in their reviews. Glenn Kenny of The New York Times called the film “entirely awe-inspiring” and wrote, “Although we know how the mission turns out, the movie generates and maintains suspense. And it rekindles a crazy sense of wonder at, among other things, what one can do practically with trigonometry.” Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film four-out-of-four stars, calling the film “an adrenaline shot of wonder and skill…. Films this completely imagined and ecstatically realized are so rare that when one comes along, it makes most other movies, even the good ones, seem underachieving. Any information that you happen to absorb while viewing Apollo 11is secondary to the visceral experience of looking at it and listening to it.
Last score update: 3/14/19