Anti-Obama Movie Stuns Hollywood For #4

August 26, 2012


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 2/3 fewer theaters across North American than the other wide release actioners.

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.

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