Hollywood is stunned as Anti-Obama (Soetoro) Movie hits #4

Anti-Obama Movie Stuns Hollywood For #4; Other Newcomers & Holdovers Weak Friday; Only ‘The Expendables 2′ Can Break $10M

By NIKKI FINKE | Saturday August 25, 2012 @ 12:52am PDT

SATURDAY AM, 3RD UPDATE: Because of Friday’s very weak box office, there was finally clarity for the Top 10 film rankings this morning. As predicted, Millenium/Lionsgate’s holdover The Expendables 2 finished in first place Friday and this weekend. It’s followed by Universal’s 2-week-old The Bourne Legacy in second place. New movies didn’t perform. But the shocker was Rocky Mountain Pictures’ political documentary 2016 Obama’s America which expanded into theaters across America this weekend after a very limited release and wound up in 4th place. That’s stunning because it’s playing in 1/3 less theaters across North American than the other wide release actioners. (See below for more details). Due to its hot pre-sales, the pic is proving frontloaded, and its ranking will fall steeply by end of Sunday. But the doc made its point: its new cume after this weekend should make it the #1 conservative documentary (besting Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed’s $7.7M). The pic is based on conservative author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza’s New York Times bestselling 2010 book The Roots Of Obama’s Rage and co-directed by D’Souza and John Sullivan and produced by Academy Award winner Gerald R. Molen (co-producer of Schindler’s List). Its success comes because of savvy marketing on the eve of the Republican National Convention August 27-30. Exhibitors are reporting busloads arriving at theaters around the country in pre-organized trips. It also employed much of the same marketing techniques used to garner attention and support for faith-based films, understandable since the audience is overlapping. Its campaign included advertising nationally over the past two weeks on talk radio and cable news channels including Fox News Channel, A&E, History and MSNBC. ”Yes, I also didn’t believe it when I first saw the film taking off in pre-sales on Tuesday,” an exhibition insider tells me. “Because there’s not a lot of new product that’s taking off.”

Among this weekend’s new films, Sony Pictures’ newcomer Premium Rush is a disappointment, while Open Road’s Hit And Run (which opened Wednesday) takes a bad fall, and Dark Castle/Warner Bros’ new release The Apparition didn’t stand a ghost of a chance as a parting present for producer Joel Silver. “It’s exhausting working with numbers this bad,” one studio exec griped Friday. No new pic will even break $10M. Total moviegoing for the weekend adds up to only $75M, or -13% from last year. The Top Ten based on Friday estimates:

1. The Expendables 2 (Millenium/Lionsgate) Week 2 [3,355 Runs] R
Friday $3.7M (-64%), Weekend $11.7M, Cume $50.2M

2. The Bourne Legacy (Universal) Week 3 [3,652 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.7M, Weekend $8.4M, Cume $84.6M

3. ParaNorman (Focus Features) Week 2 [3,455 Runs] PG
Friday $2.3M (-50%), Weekend $7.5M, Cume $27.1M

4. 2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain) NEW [1,091 Runs] PG
Friday $2.2M, Weekend $6.0M, Cume $8.9M

5. The Campaign (Warner Bros) Week 3 [3,302 Runs] R
Friday $2.2, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $62.9M

6. The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (Disney) Week 2 [2,598 Runs] PG
Friday $2.0M (-40%), Weekend $6.5M, Cume $26.5M

6. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/WB) Week 6 [2,606 Runs] PG13
Friday $2.0M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $421.7M

8. Premium Rush (Sony) NEW [2,255 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.9M, Weekend $6.1M

9. Hope Springs (Sony) Week 3 [2,402 Runs] PG13
Friday $1.7M, Weekend $5.5M, Cume $44.6M

10. Hit And Run (Open Road) NEW [2,870 Runs] R
Friday $1.4M, Weekend $3.8M, Cume $4.8M

12. The Apparition (Dark Castle/WB) NEW [810 Runs]
Friday $1.1K, Weekend $2.6M

FRIDAY 2 PM: The anti-Obama movie 2016 Obama’s America went into wider release around America today and is opening right now in first place at the domestic box office. That’s quite a feat since the Rocky Mountain Pictures political documentary is still playing in only 1,090 North American theaters – or about 1/3 as many theaters as actioner The Expendables 2 (3,355 theaters). But these political documentaries like faith-based films are frontloaded. The Stallone pic from Millenium/Lionsgate still will end Friday and the weekend #1.

Both online ticket-sellers Fandango and MovieTickets.com showed advance buying for 2016 Obama’s America were accounting for 35% to 28% respectively before this weekend. It opened on July 13th in a preview on a single screen in Texas grossing almost $32,000 during its opening weekend, then expanded into 61 theaters including New York and Los Angeles. In August, the film widened to 169 theaters nationwide and expanded again this weekend. Distribution experts expect 2016 Obama’s America to fare similarly to that Kirk Cameron faith-based movie Fireproof. It was #1 in Fandango’s advance sales and did remarkably well during its opening Friday – but then ended up somewhere around #4 at the box office for the weekend.

Last weekend, 2016: Obama’s America grossed a strong $1.2M in 169 venues for a cumulative gross as of Thursday of $2.8M. It’s the #2 biggest indie documenatry of the year behind only The Weinstein Company’s Bully ($3.2 million) and already the #12 political documentary of all time. It will rise a lot higher in the rankings after this weekend.

2016 Obama’s America detractors decry it as a slick infomercial heavy with conspiracy theories. But D’Souza says he made the film to motivate moviegoers to question what an Obama second term would look like, and credits liberal documentary maker Michael Moore for the structure of the film: “When he released Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 ahead of the election, it sparked intense debate. I learned some lessons from Michael Moore, and hopefully he might learn some lessons from me about handling facts.”

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