Anti-Obama documentary scores big at the box office

Published: Monday, Aug. 27 2012 4:04 p.m. MDT

The conservative documentary "2016: Obama's America" exceeded estimates by grossing more than $6 million in its first weekend of wide release.

Rocky Mountain Pictures

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SALT LAKE CITY — The conservative documentary "2016: Obama's America" grossed enough money over the weekend to burnish its credentials as a bona fide commercial success.

"As it expanded from a more limited run to about 1,100 theaters across the country, the film took in an estimated $6.2 million over the weekend for a total of more than $9 million in domestic ticket sales since its release … on July 13," Michael Cieply wrote Sunday night for the New York Times' Media Decoder blog. "As documentaries go, that makes it a hit."

Examiner.com's Scott Paulson noted Sunday that the new anti-Obama documentary "has now surpassed the top conservative documentary of all time — 'Intelligence Allowed' — which earned $7.7 million" and "has surpassed the former documentary champ of 2012 — a documentary entitled 'Bully' which brought in $3.5 million. By industry standards, that is a huge intake for a documentary."

Amy Kaufman reported for the Los Angeles Times' Movies Now blog, "Heading into the weekend, pre-release audience surveys suggested 'Obama's America' would gross about $4 million — but by midday Friday, ticket sales were so brisk that estimates were lifted to $6 million. The movie debuted seven weeks ago in Houston and had raked in $2.4 million as it expanded from 169 theaters to 1,091 locations this weekend."

The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Sherman Frederick strongly praised "Obama's America" ("The movie is well done. Captivating, even."), yet he also cautioned that the film likely will not exert substantial influence on the presidential race between Obama and Mitt Romney: "For those who hope 'Obama's America: 2016' might open the eyes of the American electorate, may I simply point out that documentaries like '2016' tend to reach audiences already inclined to buy the premise. It is, as they say, preaching to the choir.'"

J.G. Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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