Maybe reviews do matter.
The Sarah Palin documentary "The Undefeated" earned decent, but by no means, overwhelming ticket sales on Friday and Saturday, earning an approximately $5,000 per-theater average across 10 screens, according to distributor ARC Entertainment. Sunday numbers were not available. And exact figures appear to be confidential.
While the distributors are heralding the sales as a big win--and "stronger than expected, with the large markets trending towards weekend per screen averages above $10,000 driven by multiple sold-out runs," according to a press release--the final results are no game-changer, indicating Palin's fan base either isn't as strong as they might hope, bad reviews kept them away, or they simply would rather spend their hard-earned dollars on "Harry Potter" and "Winnie the Pooh."
If box office translated to election results, a $7,000-10,000 weekend per-screen average would roughly equate to a respectable showing, but not enough to pull a majority victory, behind such recent stronger candidates as Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (4 screens, $27,820 average), "The September Issue" (6 theaters, $36,772 average) and "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" (7 theaters, $23,479 average).
The press release touts the fact the film "was marketed almost entirely through social media and grass roots efforts, with virtually no traditional media spend." But let's face it: Palin is her own best marketer, a mainstream media presence, and a Newsweek cover the week of the film's opening is probably akin to a six-figure marketing coup.
ARC Entertainment expects the film to expand to a wider audience.