On this day in 2006, Eight Below journeyed into theaters, telling a tail of friendship between eight amazing sled dogs and their guide, Jerry (Paul Walker). Stranded in Antarctica during the most unforgiving winter on the planet, Jerry’s beloved sled dogs must learn to survive together until Jerry—who will stop at nothing—rescues them. Driven by unwavering bonds of friendship, enormous belief in one another, and tremendous courage, Jerry and the dogs make an incredible journey to reunite.
“At once exciting, suspenseful and emotionally powerful . . .”
Eight Below came about when producer David Hoberman saw the 1983 Japanese blockbuster Nankyoku Monogatari, the story of the marooned dogs and the human companions who refused to forget them. The film became the highest-grossing Japanese film of its time, continuing to hold box-office records for more than a decade. In the grand tradition of classic adventure sagas, Hoberman saw it as being “at once exciting, suspenseful and emotionally powerful.” David felt that the underlying themes of the story deserved to be seen by a much wider audience, and he envisioned a less harrowing, more family-oriented adventure that would bring the inspirational, sustaining links between friendship and survival even more to the fore.
Epic themes of friendship, responsibility and triumph of the spirit
“I loved the story because it was so action-packed, but it was also about all these epic themes of friendship, responsibility and triumph of the spirit,” he said. “It stayed with me for years and years, and I kept trying to get the project going, until at last a Disney executive who had seen the Japanese film and felt the same way about it as I did agreed to option it.”