Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

Will Palin Doc "The Undefeated" Be Defeated at the Box Office?

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik July 15, 2011 at 1:33AM

Will Palin Doc "The Undefeated" Be Defeated at the Box Office?
5

Opening in 10 cities across the nation from sea to shining sea today -- from Orange County, CA to Orlando, FL -- "The Undefeated' is poised to break out big at the box office in limited release, further fomenting Palin fever among Tea Party members and right-wing fans.

The film has encountered scathing reviews, a 34 out of 100 on Metacritic.com, with the L.A. Times calling it "a troop-rallying campaign infomercial as imagined by Michael Bay: hero-worshipping, crescendo-edited at a dizzying pace, thunderously repetitive and its own worst enemy as a two-hour, talking-points briefing."

But such negative criticism from the "mainstream media" should only inflame the passions of Palinistas, and confirm their stereotypes of the left-wing press, fueling further ticket sales.

I wouldn't be surprised if most of the first weekend's shows were sold out. Opening weekend anticipation is high among Palin's devoted followers, and a similar initial excitement greeted the Tea Party embraced "Atlas Shrugged" film a few weeks ago. When "Atlas Shrugged" opened on a much wider 299 screens in April, the film had a formidable $5,640 per-theater average, with an overall weekend gross of nearly $1.7 million. But the "Atlas Shrugged" buzz quickly fell off in its second weekend, and the film's average crashed in subsequent weekends.

I suspect "The Undefeated" will follow a similar trajectory, but distributors Cinedigm Entertainment Group are keeping things small, surely to tout a mammoth per-theater average as it crawls around the country.

I can already see the Sunday evening press releases that will proclaim the film's per-theater average as record-breaking. For comparison, Michael Moore's "Sicko" currently holds the record for the highest grossing per-theater average when it opened on one screen and earned $69,000. A better comparison might be Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," which opened in 8 theaters, and came away with a $26,143 average. For other context: When the Oprah-supported "Precious" opened in 18 theaters, it had an astounding average of $104,025.

But the proof of the success of "The Undefeated" will take much longer to determine than opening weekend. Either way, the highly targeted release--borrowing from the DIY-style grassroots city-by-city campaigns long established by indie companies--is a smart move for a film that has a strong and devoted niche. Palin fans will be paying up not to see a movie, but to support their candidate. Which, of course, is fine by producers Victory Film Group, distrib Cinedigm and exhib AMC Theaters. Where there's an audience, there's a dollar.

As director Stephen Bannon told me in this Wall Street Journal Online interview, "Let’s be brutally frank: There’s not that much great product for conservatives. I’m a capitalist. We have to prove that there’s a market out there for this product. Look, Al Gore had $15 million in P&A from Paramount; Michael Moore had $15-20 from the Weinsteins [on "Fahrenheit 9/11"]. But social media has changed things. We have a couple of million dollars in P&A, and we’ll see how it does over time."

This article is related to: Political Docs, Rightwing Extremism

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Bob Connors: The thing to remember is the video has some actual data but it's conclusions are far fetched and inaccurate. This is a Progressive propaghand…

Who is "Politizane" and What's Next for the Income Inequality Viral Video

Mar 21th, 2015 8:47am

By Ostlee: This makes very sad reading - i feel for the people of Maldives. Everyone should boycott the island as a holiday destination until Nasheed…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 13th, 2015 5:35pm

By Ahmed Shahid: Release the first democratically elected president. The only president of Maldives who has reached the people of Maldives, heard them and…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 12th, 2015 9:37am

By Hanne Neve: Please take care of your country and the climate by freeing your real selektet president.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 11th, 2015 9:09am

By Iqbal: Please release President Nasheed

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:27pm

By Martha Robertson: I strongly urge the immediate release of Nasheed!

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 9:37pm

By Ned Rollins: Bad business, going to bite you.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 3:47pm

By John Painter: The guy isnt a terrorist.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 12:00pm

By Sofia Vera: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 11:14am

By Margarett R Mulkey: A civilized society is required of the current government of the Maldives. The world is watching injustice and crimes, and many realized thes…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:53am