In a saga with more twists and turns than an episode of The Joe Kenda Files, "America" producer Dinesh D'Souza has been omnipresent in the news these past few days by launching a protest with Google over the company's search issues on the film and now it turns out that Costco has pulled the companion book ("America: Imagine A World Without Her") from its shelves, despite the fact that the book currently sits at #1 on the Amazon best seller list.
Of course this makes conspiracy theorists on both sides of the aisle switch into overdrive as to whether this is an elaborate, and quite frankly ingenious, ploy to drum up press for the film, which grossed $2.7 million this weekend. If so, then this is sandwich board publicity at its finest in a if-Harvey-Weinstein-and-Megyn-Kelly-had-a-baby sort of way. To say D'Souza isn't publicity shy is like saying we may have a slight problem with border crossings, so if this turns out to be a carefully orchestrated, mountain out of a molehill, endeavor then we all should walk away from this echoing Claude Rains in "Casablanca", muttering that we're shocked (shocked!) that this was simply a publicity stunt.
Or, at the risk of going all Charles Krauthammer here, does the producer have a point? Google indicated that it will take some time (their words, not mine) to fix the search problem with the film. The company explained that many films have "America" in the title so when someone searches for showtimes and theatres for the film they are often directed to a different movie (I can't imagine there are still many runs left of "Team America: World Police" however).
And what is to be made of big box retailer Costco taking the companion book off its shelves? They added the book on June 1st and then pulled it on July 1st, three days prior to the release of the film, claiming that they had no idea the film would be a success. Brilliant, guys. The retailer yesterday did an about face and indicated they would be returning "America: Imagine A World Without Her" to its stores in due course.
Let's see if this ultimately helps the holdover of the film this coming weekend. If not then at least it's been one of the few interesting movie stories in a summer that has been drenched with tales of doom and gloom.