When 2016: Obama’s America debuted in Houston last month, it did so well that the producers promptly doubled the number of screens it would expand to later in the month. The anti-Obama documentary finally went national this weekend, on the eve of the Republican National Convention, and it continues to draw unexpectedly large numbers.
Box office this weekend was particularly weak for new movies. The documentary virtually tied with Premium Rush, the week’s big studio opening, and beat other new movies in box office earnings. Political documentaries by liberals such as Michael Moore long ago proved their earnings potential, but this reportedly it is the highest weekend ever for a conservative documentary.
Produced by a former producer of Steven Spielberg movies, 2016: Obama’s America earned an estimated $6.2 million from 1,091 theaters. It shocked box office watchers on Friday night by beating all of the new movies to land in 4th place. It finally settled into eighth place overall, but its per-theater average of $5,717 is far better than any other movie in the top 10.
The film is drawn from the controversial 2010 book, The Roots of Barack Obama’s Rage, by Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative commentator who argues that the President shares the anti-colonialist worldview of his father, a native of Kenya. D’Souza uses this theory to try to show that Obama’s views are at odds with traditional American ideas of the nation’s rightful place in the world.
The movie first opened in Houston on July 13 and drew attention partly because it contained an interview with Obama’s Kenyan half brother. I previously wrote about it here. It earned a reported $31,750 over three days playing on one screen at the Edwards Marq*E. Turn out was so big at a promotional screening that 200 people reportedly were turned away, even after the screening was moved to a larger auditorium to accommodate larger-than-expected crowds.
The huge national showing on Friday, when it had the fourth largest box office in the country, followed by weaker numbers Saturday and Sunday may suggest that the movie has a fervent but not particularly large following.
Premium Rush, the best performing new studio movie, earned an estimated $6.3 million from 2,255 theaters. Hit and Run earned $4.7 million and the Apparition, which only opened in 810 locations, earned a projected $2.95 million.
The Expendables 2 came in first with $13.5 million, a 53 percent drop from its opening week. It was followed by The Bourne Legacy with $9.3 million, ParaNorman with $8.5 million, The Campaign with $7.4 million, The Dark Knight Rises with $7.1 million and The Odd Life of Timothy Green with $7.1 million.
Source: The Numbers