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Dinesh D'Souza's "America" Set to Spark, then Fizzle at Box Office

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by Anthony Kaufman
July 1, 2014 9:50 AM
34 Comments
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In 2012, author-turned-filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza caught some kind of freakish right-wing lightning in a bottle when his debut documentary "2016: Obama's America" became the fourth highest-grossing documentary ever released in the U.S. It was a box-office victory championed by conservative commentators around the U.S., and has now spawned a sequel, titled "America: Imagine the World Without Her," which opened to solid numbers last weekend in Houston and Atlanta ($39,000 on three screens) and opens wider over the 4th of July holiday. But unlike "Obama's America," don't expect "America" to take the country by storm. With horrid reviews and an overbearing and dull first trailer, the new movie will likely fizzle quickly after an initial highly touted wide release. And if it doesn't, God help us.

Quality filmmaking has never exactly driven ticket sales in the past, but it's difficult to imagine scores of teeming church-goers flocking to this patriotic drivel and overt anti-liberal rhetoric as they did to "Passion of the Christ." I could be wrong, of course. Perhaps Tea Party fanatics would rather watch force-fed agit-prop rather than the latest "Transformers" explosion-porn, but I don't think so. Last year's "Atlas Shrugged," a similarly biased triumphant view of American capitalism, maxed out at around $3.3 million at the box office.

From a lefty perspective, it's funny to watch the third trailer of the film and hear figures like Noam Chomsky respond to D'Souza's obvious anti-American baiting questions. When Chomsky says things like, "Private capital, unless it's constrained in some fashion, is extremely destructive" and "There's a reason why most of the world regards the United States as a predatory colonial power," perhaps the film's conservative audiences may receive a welcome alternative opinion that opens their minds. Who knows: Maybe D'Souza's film could have unintended consequences, converting religious audiences to the dangers of deregulated capitalism, because, after all, like any sequel in a successful franchise, isn't that what "America: Imagine the World Without Her" is for: to make money. 


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34 Comments

  • George | July 29, 2014 11:38 AMReply

    CinemaScore, a movie rating system known for predicting the commercial success of feature films, has just given Dinesh D’Souza’s “America” an “A+” rating, predicting the film has a high probability of experiencing a very profitable run.

    I highly recommend ALL Americans see this movie. Don't take a reviewers word for what this movie is about. SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!

  • Liz | July 17, 2014 1:35 PMReply

    Interesting, Just heard form a friend that went to the movie, The ticket seller gave her a ticket to a different movie and told her to go to any movie she wanted. (So a different movie producer gets both the dollars and movie attendance report. I thought maybe it was a mistake.... She was told later by her mother's friends that they went to buy tickets, were discouraged by the ticket seller, saying it was almost sold out with only front row seats.... They went anyway and the theater was 1/2 full.

  • Brian | July 16, 2014 9:30 PMReply

    Just saw the movie and I encourage anyone that does not hate America to see it! It will do you soul some good!

  • shirley | July 16, 2014 2:30 PMReply

    Many people have given their lives fighting for freeing the slaves. Time to move forward.

  • AaronSch | July 15, 2014 11:23 PMReply

    I've seen Dinesh D'Souza'a America twice. At the end of both showings the audience spontaneously applauded. I can't remember the last time a film generated that response along with engaging discussion after the screening. The critics have obviously allowed their own political views to cloud a fair assessment of the film--I wonder whether they all actually viewed it. I may be wrong but I don't remember many critics pointing out the gross inaccuracies in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" or Michael Moores pathetic staged documentaries, "Fahrenheit 911," "Sicko" or "Bowling for Columbine." Rather than questioning the veracity of a specific fact outlined in Dinesh D'Souza's film, the critics have tried to paint the narrative as entirely false. Some of of them even make the specious claim that Mr. D'Souza was trying to excuse the practice of slavery and treatment of the American Indian. On the contrary, he simply pointed out that the abhorrent practice of slavery was not an offense practiced exclusively by Americans or whites for that matter and that blacks were not the exclusive victims of slavery. In addition, he shows how the laws laid out in our founding documents were the tools used to end the practice. He then points out that the left has inaccurately claimed that the early settlers committed genocide against the America Indian when in reality, the native people were unwittingly exposed to diseases that they lacked the acquired immunities to fight which decimated large communities of the native population. Attacking the message and the character of the messenger is exactly what the left has been practicing in order to silence anything that challenges their world view. Mr. D'Souza makes that case when he introduces Saul Alinsky, the leftist mentor of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and author of the left-wing handbook,"Rules for Radicals." If you want a different perspective beyond the revisionist drivel you've been spoon-fed since childhood by liberal "educators," check the film out for yourself and then don't take Mr. D'Souza's word for it, research the claims made in the film for yourself-it's going to surprise the hell out of you.

  • Chris Zarpas | July 14, 2014 12:39 AMReply

    Anthony,

    Of all those movies that opened last weekend, all but one dropped a staggering average 45% in its second. The one exception was Dinesh D'Souza's America. America's second weekend box office dropped only 10.7%. A drop of less than 25% for a wide release movie is nothing short of extraordinary. This despite scathing reviews from the self loathing Americans who populate mainstreamAmerican media. This means the movie has hugely positive word of mouth and will have very long legs at the box office. It also bodes very well for home video sales and rentals.

    Your foolhardy forecast of fizzling box office has proven fallacious. You sir are a dilletante. I respect your right to hate any movie you see, and share that view with the world. But you have no right to take a hatchet to a movie you haven't even seen, driven by a hateful and treasonous crackpot political ideology. And leave the business reporting to the Wall Street Journal.

    Zei Gezunt. I'm praying for you!

    Chris Zarpas

  • Bill Mackey | July 13, 2014 10:15 AMReply

    Saw the film last Monday evening. The theater was nearly empty; maybe 10 folks. Loved it. Took 3 of my grand children to it yesterday (Saturday afternoon at a 2:00 pm showing). There were about 50 or 60 people in the theater. My feeling is that the number of people seeing it this weekend is higher than last, but I can't find any data yet to confirm or refute this thought. It is a great film.

  • Chris Zarpas | July 11, 2014 1:21 AMReply

    Don't hold your breath Mitch. "Objective" is not in his vocabulary.

  • Ed Johnson | July 11, 2014 1:35 PM

    If you think you are going to inoculate ANYTHING, considering you are a rabid Konservative, think again. I would rather have you quarantined.

  • Mitch | July 11, 2014 8:37 AM

    Hi Chris,
    I'm just trying to be one small inoculation against the disease we call progressive liberalism. With our country at stake, I figure it's worth a try, but no, I won't be holding my breath.

  • Chris Zarpas | July 8, 2014 11:26 PMReply

    "America" the book is #1 on Amazon and is rapidly climbing the New York Times Bestsellers list. This despite Obama 's friends at Costco pulling it from their shelves, just before the release of the book . If it was up to Anthony, we would all be in reeducation camps reading the collected works of Emile Zola, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Battleship Potemkin, Mission To Moscow and Reds would be playing on a continuous loop.

    Those can, do. Those who cant, blog.

  • N | July 12, 2014 7:02 AM

    To ED JOHNSON
    LOL - Riiiight. Orders from Heritage, AEI and the ubiquitous demon of the left, Fox News.
    Well, Eddy, looks like they must have infiltrated CinemaScore as well, a market research firm, that gave the film an A+ rating, which puts D'Souza's film alongside Titanic and Schindler's List.
    Not only did the author of this article get it wrong, but he did so in fabulous fashion. You folks on the left are left frothing at the mouth trying to explain away this film's (and the book's) success. I don't envy you the task you've set for yourself. In order to attack the film, you have to convince people that their values and lifestyle are evil, and while such a grim view may be typical for the rabid left, it's a tough sell to most sane Americans.

  • Ed Johnson | July 11, 2014 1:34 PM

    "America" the book os #1 on Amazon and NYT because the orders from Heritage, AEI, and FOX are just beginning to kick in.
    Box Office Mojo said this awful movie pulled in a decent opening weekend, but is starting to fade fast.
    Basic problem is that, much as Konservatives LOVE red meat fed to them, Dinesh has always been a terrible cook.

  • anthony | July 8, 2014 8:11 AMReply

    Many of the commenters on this post have suggested that I unfairly maligned the film and misreported the box-office potential for "America." To all of you, I give you the numbers: “America” brought in $2,743,753 in its wide release opening for a modest $2,483 per-theater average. Compare that to “2016: Obama’s America” and you can see what I mean: The earlier film opened on a similar amount of screens (1,091), but its per-theater average was more than twice as much ($5,966). And in another sign of the new movie’s dwindling momentum, weekend sales fell 6.1% from Friday to Saturday, and then dropped another 16.9% from Saturday to Sunday.

  • Ed Johnson | July 11, 2014 1:41 PM

    Thursday update sees this hackjob of a movie not picking up much steam from last weekend, and I think you will see a steep drop the next seven days. Basically, the Konservative Cheeto eaters crowd forced their girlfriends into the theaters last weekend at gunpoint, but they won't go a second time. Proiduction expenses were much higher than 2016 America, plus you have to cover D'Souza's legal expenses before he goes to prison, so may not get to break-even.

  • Mitch | July 9, 2014 8:41 PM

    To be fair, Anthony, that's correct. The first week was a very limited engagement which greatly skewed that number. That does not have any bearing on the power of this movie. "America" gives a very positive and refreshing, cup half full view of our nation, based on factual information, not on destructive and politically motivated revisionist history. You would do yourself and your readers a huge service by an objective viewing and assessment.

  • Anthony | July 9, 2014 12:27 PM

    Dear Mitch, your 7000% increase has to do with the number of theaters that the film expanded to from 3 theaters to over 1,000 theaters.

  • Mitch | July 8, 2014 3:22 PM

    That's very interesting, Anthony, because a quick peek at box office results on Box Office Mojo shows me in excess of a 7000% increase the second week! I won't try to improve too much on the very astute and articulate comments I've seen here in response to your assassination attempt on this film. I will say that I saw this very masterful and accurate documentary last week, which culminated in an enthusiastic standing ovation in a CT theater, not to mention the rare but well-deserved A+ rating it just earned from Cinemascope. You may succeed in deflecting the chronically uninformed or the intellectually uncurious from seeing this film, but as more open-minded Americans see this, the more your credibility as a partisan hack film critic will plummet. Best of luck with that.

  • Chris Zarpas | July 6, 2014 8:35 PMReply

    Anthony,


    Just read your piece on Dinesh D'Souza's America. As filmmaker and as an American, I found it very troubling. 


    I began my career in indie exhibition and distribution. I acquired Joel and Ethan Coen's "Blood Simple" and literally schlepped the cans of film from city to city to screen for exhibitors and book my dates. Soon after, I was one of Jeffrey Katzenberg's first hires at Disney. Later I was the CEO of Scott Free, Ridley and Tony Scott's motion picture and TV production company. My producing credits include Sandlot, Clay Pigeons, GI Jane and the HBO movie RKO 281 for which Ridley and I received Golden Globes.


    How can you call yourself a film journalist when you intentionally trash a movie, gleefully predicting it's box office failure, when you haven't even seen the movie? You obviously know nothing about the movie business since the tracking reports and exit polling predicted the opposite of your conjectured result. Everyone but you knew the movie was going to do well. In fact, it received an A+ from Cinemascore, has grossed $4MM and had one of the highest per screen averages in the country. 


    It may suprise you to learn that I am a dedicated Christian and a politcal conservative on the far right of the continuum. There are far more of us out here than self loathing Americans like you realize. The mindless liberalism/egoism of Hollywood and the writing of "journalists" like you finally caused me to flee Hollywood for my native Virginia. You suggest in you post that it's conservatives who aren't open minded. And yet you  malign a movie and it's filmmakers, going so far as predicting its failure without having seen it. Are you capable seeing hypocrisy here? Your really need to get out of your NY/LA elitist bubble and spend some time in the states you fly over between those two cities. It might improve your obviously poor prognositicating skill.


    You owe the filmmakers an apology. I'm guessing they'll have a long wait. 


    Sincerely,

    Chris Zarpas

  • Ed Johnson | July 11, 2014 1:45 PM

    I'm just happy you have fled Hollywood and gone back to Virginia, so I don't have to hear your voice added to the incessant whining from right-wing nutjobs who make use of everything our popular culture offers, but also want to keep their "Konservative Principles" intact.

  • Mo Rosejew | July 9, 2014 9:42 AM

    You would think Chris Zarpa would start his comments off not with his work as in Film Buyer, but with his latest endeavor as a producer on a film from Lionsgate. You and your ilk keep touting a single poll from Cinemascore for it's opening weekend, The movie opened at 11. Unless the production budget was 1.5 million, it would appear the film is a flop. What good could a film dissecting the likes of Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky and Bill Ayers be? Does anyone except the fringe of fringe even read, listen or know who they are? As if they have any sway on the average American. If anything, the Filmmakers owe an apology to the Conservative sheep that paid 4 million dollars to the producers to be told that Ayers, Chomsky and Churchill are the average liberal. For shame, Mr. Zarpas. Ps. Clay Pigeons was awesome.

  • Tony D | July 6, 2014 1:32 PMReply

    All these scathing liberal reviews have made me want to see this movie.

  • Richard Reed | July 6, 2014 10:36 AMReply

    You could not be more wrong, with this film. When I took two of my grandchildren (8 and 6) to see it, I worried a lot that they might be bored. But they loved it took, partly because of the music and beautiful cinematography. The only thing that really bothered them were the "America is evil" comments at the beginning.

    Critics who universally trashed earlier conservative films for 'agiprop' occasionally had a good point and often (October Baby - a great film) did not. But they are rapidly losing credibility, for it has become clear they trash ALL conservative films regardless of merit.

    Apparently, "America" will come out of this weekend with at least $5 million in gross ticket sales to date; and if so, it will be the leftist film critics, who appear to judge a movie based on ideology, not merit, who have egg on their faces.

  • Benyomin | July 4, 2014 11:54 PMReply

    Mr. Kaufman you seem to presume that all people are "in it for the money". I have a feeling that Mr. DeSouza's rythm beats to a different drum. It doesn't take too much effort to connect the dots and see that Dinesh DeSouza, after producing his first film, became a target of the ire of the Obama Administration, thus landing him time in the pen for making illegal political contributions the value of which are dwarfed by myriad Obama contributors who've gotten away with the very same transgression only of far greater financial worth. Yes, he made a profit on that project but it cost him something as well.

    You reported that "Obama's America" grossed the fourth largest payback for a documentary in history. Actually, I believe that it was the second largest. However, whoever may be correct on this trivia, whether it be you or me, having seen Mr. DeSouza's latest submission, I have a great deal of confidence that "Obama's America" is destined to go down a notch on that list, the reason for which I believe you'll know why.

    My question is have you taken seriously the points he made and are you willing to rationally wrestle with his arguments instead of dimissively calling them "drivel".

  • Ed Johnson | July 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    So D'Souza pleads guilty to funneling in illegal campaign contributions to a Konservative candidate, Wendy Long, by using his MISTRESS and her husband, the cuckold, as vehicles.

    That's your true Konservative values, right there.

  • Valerie Tomasic | July 4, 2014 11:52 PMReply

    I just got home from seeing it. My eyes were wet most of the way. The producer made all the important points step-by-step and it makes anyone throw rocks at most other places on the planet. The rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the close totally rocked. The shame will be that the ignorant spun-educated generation will miss it. Politegos such as Alinsky and Chomsky ought to have their bank accounts emptied.

  • A Milton | July 4, 2014 11:04 PMReply

    Great movie all Americans need to see. Take the kids and grand kids.

  • Richard Reed | July 6, 2014 10:43 AM

    I did take the grandkids (8 and 6). They loved it too, which (to be honest) surprised me. But then, 'America" is a well-done film, with good production values and great cinematography. It was actually better than I anticipated, and I believe that 'word-of-mouth' will cause it to beat the $30 million that the film '2016' grossed.

    Apparently, 'America' is grossing over $1 million a day so far.

  • AC Wood | July 4, 2014 10:58 PMReply

    You didn't see it, did you, Mr. Kaufman?

  • Valerie Tomasic | July 4, 2014 11:59 PM

    Many of Kaufman's comments are so off key it gets to be obvious he has yet to see it.

  • David Johnson | July 2, 2014 10:09 AMReply

    I'm curious to see what a native Indian produces about America. Apparently, D'nesh became a citizen of the United States at the age of 30. The trailer of "AMERICA" seemed well done and produced with an eye toward accuracy, (I froze the film frame by frame, and the uniforms, muskets and canon, etc. looked quite authentic). Anyway, if I have time I'll comment on the film this week. Thanks for the opportunity to add a very unbiased opinion.

  • AC Wood | July 4, 2014 11:09 PM

    You are going to love this film, Mr. Johnson.

  • No | July 1, 2014 10:33 AMReply

    Man! That was a boring trailer. It would have been better if were kept to less than three minutes and he had a more dynamic speaker narrating.

  • AC Wood | July 4, 2014 11:06 PM

    Well, it is a documentary. I went to see the film. Came home and researched his facts. He was dead on the money. The film was captivating. The audience was glued to the screen. Only sound from the audience was the occasional roar of laughter at some pretty funny stuff in the film (which was all good, clean humor, not political humor). It is an awesome film. Very uplifting and hopeful.

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