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"Obama's America" Loses Box Office Momentum; But Watch Out for Rightwing Nonfiction Wave

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by Anthony Kaufman
September 3, 2012 3:15 PM
5 Comments
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The rightwing agit-prop doc "2016: Obama's America," a movie so full of conjecture and hole-y logic it makes a Michael Moore movie look like the phone book, has finally reached its box-office peak over the Labor Day Weekend, declining 14% in ticket sales from the previous week's stellar box office. So far, the movie's domestic gross is still a widely impressive $20.2 million -- an astounding number for a movie that has been universally panned by critics (a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). But, of course, neither the movie's quality, nor its accuracy, nor its racism, matters to ticket buyers. They just want to show their disaffection for the current President.

obama's america

Currently playing across a wide 1,747 theaters, the movie has obviously played into rightwing ferver and conspiracy theories attacking President Obama. Comparisons have been made to "Fahrenheit 9/11," but the true model for "2016: Obama's America" is Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ," similarly released during an election cycle and similarly embraced by America's conservative masses. Once again, I should reiterate that U.S. moviegoers are not surprisinginly conservative, and that the triumph of a right-wing movie is not the exception, it's the rule. ("Passion of the Christ" made $370 million in the U.S.; "Fahrenheit" made $119 million.) Conservations love to play the victim and the underdog, but the success of a rightwing diatribe is not news. Speaking of news, Fox remains the reigning cable network in the nation, but no one seems to be writing headlines about that.

But credit does need to be given to the distributors of "2016: Obama's America"; $20 million is a lot of money for a film with mostly talking heads. And once its run is over, it'll probably make closer to $30 million, putting it firmly in the nonfiction record books, and undoubtedly sparking a wave of imitators. And that is perhaps the scariest part of the success of the movie. Right-wing docs aren't rare, but with the template set forward by "Obama's America," you can bet a whole lot of filmmakers and distributors are going to try to replicate its success with similarly mediocre fare. If Obama is reelected, the anger that's fueled the film's success will surely be as rabid. But I'll take that over four years with Romney and Ryan.
 

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5 Comments

  • Nick | October 9, 2012 8:53 AMReply

    there you go, attacking Michael Moore to sound "serious" and "balanced"...

  • esther | September 22, 2012 3:03 PMReply

    2016 covers just a glimpse into the (well funded) hidden past of Barry Owebama, that uninformed Americans failed to investigate before electing this Alinsky bred, radical black theologian and community organizer into the Presidency of the USA.

  • Chuck | September 15, 2012 4:42 PMReply

    I think there is a longer history here that might be worth considering. It would be interesting, for example, to learn how much money Jerry Falwell's anti-Clinton doc made through TV and DVD-by-mail distribution. My bet is that Obama 2016 is only the visible tip of a much larger iceberg of right-wing docs.

  • John | September 12, 2012 12:59 PMReply

    Thank you for NOT feigning that you are fair and unbiased in your article.

  • Bolinhas | September 3, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    Ufff, finally a neutral take on this issue..

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