2016 Obama’s America Movie: No. 2 documentary in 2012?
[See previous article: "2016 Obama’s America Movie: Right-Wing Blockbuster? Not Yet."] Claims that 2016 Obama’s America is the no. 2 documentary in 2012 are at best misleading. It all depends on what the commentator in question wants to label a "documentary." To date, five non-fiction films released in North America in 2012 remain ahead of 2016 Obama’s America: Chimpanzee ($28.97 million), Katy Perry: Part of Me ($25.22 million), To the Arctic ($7.73 million), Bully ($3.49 million), and Jiro Dreams of Sushi ($2.55m). By Friday, 2016 Obama’s America should be no. 4. (Photo: Barack Obama’s brother George Obama / Dinesh D’Souza 2016 Obama’s America.)
Something else: claims that 2016 Obama’s America is the all-time no. 12 "political documentary" are at best ignorant. The source for this bit of misinformation is clearly Box Office Mojo — which just as clearly states that its chart covers 1982-present. "Time" didn’t begin in 1982. Really, it didn’t. Just ask the filmmakers of classic political documentaries such as The Spanish Earth, Hearts and Minds, Harlan County U.S.A., The Sorrow and the Pity, and To Die in Madrid.
And finally, a quick glance at the Box Office Mojo chart will tell you that their figures for the ’80s are incomplete. In fact, the only ’80s "political documentary" found on the chart is Michael Moore’s 1989 release Roger & Me. [See also "2016 Obama’s America: The Right’s Fahrenheit 9/11?]
So, are we supposed to believe that Oscar-winning / -nominated documentaries such as Down and Out in America, Witness to Apartheid, The Times of Harvey Milk, Seeing Red, and Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie each earned less than $1,088* at the domestic box office? That would be ludicrous even if we blithely choose to ignore inflation.
2016 Obama’s America movie budget
2016 Obama’s America cost a reported $2.5 million (some sources claim $2.1m). Generally speaking, exhibitors keep 50 percent of a movie’s box office gross. If we apply that to Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan’s documentary (assuming that the reported budget is accurate), 2016 Obama’s America will have to gross anywhere between $4.2-$5 million to match its production costs at the domestic box office. (That should happen this coming weekend.) Note that the film’s budget doesn’t include marketing and distribution expenses, which should be considerable for a movie that will shortly be presented at more than 1,000 locations.
One doesn’t have to be clairvoyant to foresee insignificant — if any — international sales for 2016 Obama’s America, as the anti-Obama obsession is a characteristic of the American Right. Elsewhere, right-wingers and other nationalists have their own (perceived or factual) "liberal" leaders to hate.
And make sure to check out Ryan Chittum’s 2010 Columbia Journalism Review piece, which called Dinesh D’Souza’s Forbes cover story "How Obama Thinks" a "fact-twisting, error-laden piece of paranoia" and "a singularly disgusting work."
* That’s the box office cume of the no. 108 political documentary on Box Office Mojo’s chart, The Empire in Africa.
Barack Obama’s brother George Obama / Dinesh D’Souza 2016 Obama’s America movie image: Rocky Mountain Pictures.