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by Jay A. Fernandez
August 22, 2012 11:14 AM
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What Does the Growing Success of Anti-Obama Doc '2016: Obama's America' Mean for the Future of Cinematic Political Advocacy?

We may finally have a successful political documentary made from a conservative perspective on our hands. “2016: Obama’s America” grossed $1.2 million this past weekend in limited release, including showings at New York City’s Regal Union Square theaters that placed it third behind “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Total Recall,” according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter by Pam McClintock.

The film, from author Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan, expands to more than 1,000 theaters Friday just ahead of the Republican National Convention. That push should easily make it the highest-grossing non-nature documentary of the year thus far (above “Bully”), as it already has collected $2 million since it began its slow rollout in July. Indiewire's weekend box office article from Sunday tells more of that story.

READ MORE: 'Schindler’s List’ Producer Gerald Molen Wants ‘2016: Obama’s America’ To Help Romney Win the Presidency

McClintock notes that the film, which purports to investigate the president’s murky past and show how a second term would be a bad result for the country, has done well in several cities with liberal-leaning demographics, including New York and San Francisco. But no exit interviews establishing the political identities of audiences have yet been provided, which could just mean that right-leaning viewers that live in those areas went to check out the movie and not necessarily that curious left-leaning viewers were buying tickets, too.

In any case, signs point to potential Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan supporters hungry for the message D’Souza delivers in the film. Modern political conventions famously include fawning, hagiographic short films to illustrate their messianic candidates, but that’s pitching to a stacked crowd. The very fact that a documentary gets a standard theatrical release lends it a different kind of weight — viewers are more likely to approach it as a credible portrait (the "2016" tagline, "Love Him, Hate Him, You Don't Know Him," cleverly pitches the film as a non-ideological take). Should anyone at the Republican convention mention “2016” or encourage voters to see it, box office numbers could spike just as it becomes available nationally.

READ MORE: Mark Cuban on Releasing 'Occupy Unmasked' Documentary Before the Presidential Election: 'I Don't Have Any Politics'

Just how much of a groundswell that creates for the GOP campaign — or how many independents’ votes ultimately are secured by the film — is nearly impossible to gauge. But if that kind of data could be collected, and it showed that the movie had a genuine impact, however small, on the election, then exhibitors, filmgoers and filmmakers could see the birth of a whole new method of political advocacy that provides a new avenue for profitable moviemaking, too.

Read the full THR box office story.

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  • swift | August 30, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    High 5 Sheri!

  • swift2 | August 30, 2012 1:04 PMReply


  • swift | August 30, 2012 1:04 PMReply

    YOU hit the nail on the head Doris

  • Rita | August 28, 2012 11:15 PMReply

    Obama a 3rd world formed individual in the most demanding job in the world. Thanks Mr D souza & Mr Sullivan for bringing the facts to the US because our Brie & Chablis media never did.

  • Isaac | August 26, 2012 2:35 PMReply

    It is a very interesting thing to see how docs may affect elections.

    That Being said why do people get so upset when someone makes a conservative film? There are countless liberal films? I do not see why there is so much rage around this film.

  • readytovote | August 23, 2012 5:38 PMReply

    the director didn't mention berak's personal life secret . about berak's ex-wife holms who is a republican and her 22yrs old boy love child who never knew who his father was. that could have benefited more than this to throw off this b*st*d.

  • homy | August 23, 2012 2:02 PMReply

    democrats firmly believe berak is an innocent ass who has no clue what so
    ever what dinesh is accusing him of. i don't think berak has any desire what so
    ever to drag his ass to another term. i think as a minority president of the
    united states he got enough.
    what i don't understand is why is women's personal
    health issues become public display and why is it political? i think goverment
    should stay out of women's personal health issues regardless goverment pays for
    it or not. i don't think goverment can impose moral values on people. it's the
    responsibility of the parent. when these republican idiots get this? if
    republicans really concervative go do a better job in the church. i don't think
    republican dictatorship works. toooooooooo republican means going back to 18th
    century life with no rights for women, 10th grade education for women, how is a
    morman women different from the muslim women.
    back walk idiots.

  • toolbox | August 22, 2012 10:23 PMReply

    Dinesh D'Souza is a hack.

  • nimorphi | August 22, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    This seems like the right wing Fahrenheit 9/11. I didn't see that crap and i won't go see this crap either.

  • Tim Hystad | August 22, 2012 7:06 PMReply

    Propaganda is a tool. The people who will go see this are tools.

  • Doris | August 22, 2012 1:09 PMReply

    I hope this movie comes to kansas before the election.I dont think it will change minds more like confirming what we think anyway.

  • patriot | August 24, 2012 8:54 AM

    I'm with you Doris, all of America needs to finally see who this man really is. Thank God someone had the courage to dig up everything that the liberal media did their best to hide about this man and expose it to the world. Never has someone been elected to the highest office in America with absolutely no vetting of their past. Of course, that's no problem if the candidate's a free enterprise-hating, socialist liberal - just ask any Obama Kool-Aid drinker like Sheri.

  • Sheri | August 23, 2012 11:03 AM

    Yes, Doris. I'm sure Republican's minds can't be changed. That's the problem. This Man was good enough to be a Harvard graduate and a University of Chicago law professor for 12 years but that isn't good enough for Republican's... let me guess why.... not smart enough? Or is it his education, work in public service and 8 years as a senator that you don't approve of? Not dedicated enough to prove that he loves America? I think we know the real reason why, for the first time in history, Republican's ask for the President's birth certificate-believing he was born in Kenya-and then don't believe it when they see it and fight over its legitimacy for years, putting out movies like this. Gee, why is that? I can tell you one thing, Doris. As a Democrat and liberal, I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK, TOO! You know, the country that was sane, moral, intelligent, and Congress knew that compromise is what the American system is based on.