The history of "Zeitgeist: The Movie" is not what many assume. The original Zeitgeist was actually not a "film", but a performance piece, which consisted of a vaudevillian style multi-media event using recorded music, live instruments and video. [The only known (camera phone) recording is posted here.] The event was given over a 6-night period in New York City and then, without any interest to professionally release or produce the work, was "tossed" up on the Internet arbitrarily. The work was never designed as a film or even a documentary in a traditional sense - it was designed as a creative, provoking, emotionally driven expression, full of artistic extremity and heavily stylized gestures.
However, once online, an unexpected flood of interest began to generate. Within 6 months over 50 Million views were recorded on Google Video counters (before they were reset for some reason). The current combined estimates put the number of Internet views at over 200 million as of 2011. Suddenly "Zeitgeist": The Event, became "Zeitgeist: The Movie".
Since that time the film has become an icon of praise and controversy. It has been broadcast in over 35 languages in over 70 countries and has been considered one of the most popular film phenomenons of all time.