Dinesh D’Souza’s “America” Set to Spark, then Fizzle at Box Office

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

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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Comments

No

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.

David Johnson

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

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

A Milton

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

Valerie Tomasic

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.

Benyomin

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".

Richard Reed

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.

Tony D

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

Chris Zarpas

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

anthony

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.

Chris Zarpas

"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.

Chris Zarpas

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

Bill Mackey

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

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

AaronSch

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.

shirley

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

Brian

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

Liz

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.

George

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!

Dianna

Every American should see this movie. You will be sure to learn some history and it might make young people think about what could happen to America.

laslavic

Here's a surprise another sanctimonious leftist douche. Frankly only other less than intellectual liberals….. yes we are all clearly aware of your equaly dim sociology PhDs spending tons of other people's money pumping out silly proofs of your claims of superior intellect and we in the real world chuckle at the self proclaimed idiocy…we employ these people to wait on us and sweep our floors and be soft silly science phds. The documentary is for people your silly kind has pulled into the stupid people fold and they've grown up and realize the stupidity of modern liberals. Your ilk calls itself progressive when in reality you're regressive.

dora glasberg

The reviewer was 100% CORRECT.
Only took 5 weeks to fall off top ten then disappear,
I doubt earning 14 mil will turn profit.
And there is ZERO foreign market for the joke of a film.

SoCaLMIKE

"Freakish right wing lightning"
Certain word choices expose mental conformity and brainwashing. The movie would up doing 14 million domestically.

Ben Johnson

I’ve turned my fiction enthusiasm to reality films and reading. I want to know who killed who? The die hard journalism in pursuit of the truth. Anyone can make a replica. I want answers.

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