Movie audiences find anti-Obama doc '2016'
This publicity image released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, shows an undated film clip of director, Dinesh D'Souza, interviewing George Obama in "2016: Obama's America." Despite the unconventional release of "2016: Obama's America," the movie is among the most successful political documentaries of all time and it doesn't show signs of cooling down ahead of the presidential election. (AP Photo/Rocky Mountain Pictures)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It wasn't backed by any Hollywood movie studio. Reviews were mostly negative. It premiered in Houston, not Los Angeles or New York. And yet despite the unconventional release of "2016: Obama's America," the movie is now among the most successful political documentaries of all time — and it doesn't show signs of cooling down ahead of the presidential election.
The conservative film exploring the roots of President Barack Obama's political views surprised the film industry when it took in $6.5 million to land at No. 7 at last weekend's domestic box office ahead of three new releases: the Joseph Gordon-Levitt action flick "Premium Rush," the Kristen Bell comedy "Hit and Run" and the Ashley Greene horror film "The Apparition."
That makes "2016" the most successful conservative documentary of all time. It's also the sixth overall highest grossing political documentary behind four Michael Moore movies and former Vice President Al Gore's environmental film "An Inconvenient Truth." It all adds up to a remarkable triumph for an indie film that circumvented the liberal waters of Hollywood.
The film has continued to do well during the slower weekday period, especially considering that it's been up against the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Since last weekend, it earned an additional $6.6 million for a total of $13.1 million, placing No. 3 at the domestic box office on Thursday. This weekend, the film expands from 1091 screens to nearly 1,800.
Distributed by Salt Lake City-based Rocky Mountain Pictures, "2016" is directed by Dinesh D'Souza, a former staffer for President Ronald Reagan who is now president of King's College in New York and author of several books, including "The Roots of Obama's Rage," the basis for "2016" that claims Obama's beliefs are rooted in the anti-colonialism of his late father, a Kenyan academic who was largely absent from the president's life.
The film premiered July 13 on one screen in Houston and slowly expanded over the past month to 1,091 theaters in such cities as Nashville, Tenn.; Baton Rouge, La.; Denver; Phoenix; Wichita, Kan.; and Washington, D.C. MJM Entertainment's Mark Joseph, who is handling the film's marketing, attested that "2016" had to be promoted differently than typical Hollywood fare.
"You can't just throw up your star on Thursday night on a talk show," said Joseph. "That's not how this works. The traditionalist audience needed to hear about the film much sooner than what Hollywood is used to doing. It's also important that they heard about it from people that they trust and admire. It's a different way of engaging the audience."