Discovery’s U.S. TV premiere of the feature documentary Racing Extinction drew 11.5 million total viewers in Live+3, the network said today. The December 2 primetime showing of Louie Psihoyos’ follow-up to his Oscar winner The Cove averaged 2.55M total viewers and 1.18 million in the 25-54 demo.

discovery channel logoDiscovery said that makes it the most watched cable documentary film premiere in more than three years. U.S. encore airings over the weekend were seen by 6.6M viewers.

Discovery acquired Racing Extinction in February after its Sundance premiere and set a plan to premiere it nearly simultaneously on the same day later in its more than 220 markets. The numbers are not yet available across all international markets, but Discovery said that among those with Racing Extinctionreportable figures, the current non-U.S. count is 6M total viewers. The total viewership for the docu across Discovery’s 50 channel brands worldwide will be released next week.

The film about how close Earth is to a massive loss of thousands of species also got a limited theatrical release in September. Lionsgate, which recently bought a 3.4% stake in Discovery Communications, announced a deal the day after Racing Extinction bowed to distribute the company’s content on home video. The docu will be the first release in that deal, arriving February 23.