Premiering at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and opening in New York City and Los Angeles on May 24, 2006, the documentary was a critical and box-office success, winning Academy Awards for Best Documentary Feature and for Best Original Song. The film also earned $49 million at the box office worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing documentary film to date in the United States.
The idea to document his efforts came from Laurie David who saw his presentation at a town-hall meeting on global warming which coincided with the opening of The Day After Tomorrow. David was so inspired by Gore's slide show that she, with Lawrence Bender, met with Guggenheim to adapt the presentation into a film.
Since the film's release, An Inconvenient Truth has been credited for raising international public awareness of climate change and reenergizing the environmental movement. The documentary has also been included in science curricula in schools around the world, which has spurred some controversy, including a British High Court case.