The box office news that will likely be on everyone's lips once the weekend is over, is the strength of the performance of incendiary anti-Obama documentary, 2016: Obama's America, compared to this weekend's opening titles.
2016: Obama's America, which was actually released on July 23rd, but in just 1 theater, expanded this weekend to 1091 theaters, and shocked the industry with an impressive $2.2 million Friday take, which currently places it at the number 3 slot on this weekend's box office tally thus far, behind The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy, and on about the same pace as ParaNorman.
What's even more impressive is that it's beating out 3 new studio films that opened yesterday – Premium Rush, Hit And Run and The Apparition – each lead by *name* talent, but performing weakly, especially Premium Rush, an action-thriller which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a New York City bike courier.
2016: Obama's America also makes the film this year's highest grossing documentary, according to THR (excluding nature docs).
So if these figures hold through Sunday, 2016: Obama's America could be in the 3 or 4 slot of top-grossing movies for the weekend, with a cume gross since its opening of close to $9 million.
A description of the film from its website:
2016 Obama's America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world's most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man's past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, "If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?" Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to America's ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didn't know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him–who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world. Love him or hate him, you don't know him.
The film is directed by Dinesh D'Souza, a conservative political commentator, public intellectual and author. He's been affiliated with a number of top conservative organizations and publications, and served as a policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan.
The film is based on his own book, The Roots of Obama's Rage. You will remember that Sergio posted a clip from the film last month (HERE), just before the film opened, in which Dinesh tries to bait Obama's Kenyan half-brother, George Obama, into criticizing the president.
Interestingly, the film is produced by Gerald Robert Molen, a right-winger, and producer of 5 of Steven Spielberg's films, winning an Academy Award for co-producing Schindler's List.
In terms of reviews from film critics, from The Washington Post's Michael O’Sullivan:
"… slick infomercial…destined to irritate the president’s supporters while mobilizing his detractors, even as it is doomed to win precious few converts… fear-mongering of the worst kind."
From Variety's Joe Leydon:
"… for the bulk of its running time, the pic comes off as a cavalcade of conspiracy theories, psycho-politico conjectures and incendiary labeling."
But not everyone is critical of it. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 57% rating, and the film has been widely praised by conservative political commentators, as you'd expect.
Despite how well the film appears to be doing, I doubt that it's converting anyone to the *dark* side.