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‘2016 Obama’s America’ Movie: Box Office Bomb or Arthouse Hit?

2016 Obama's America movie Dinesh D'Souza

2016 Obama’s America Movie: Box-Office Bomb or ‘Arthouse’ Hit?

Distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the same company that last year handled the distribution of the box office disaster Atlas Shrugged: Part I – so disastrous, in fact, that parts II and III were initially scrapped2016 Obama’s America has to date taken in an estimated $2.06 million in North America.

Co-directed and co-written by author and commentator Dinesh D’Souza and producer John Sullivan (Ducks, The Hitchhiker), and based on D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, 2016 Obama’s America is just that: the United States under four more years of Barack Obama in the White House as seen through a right-wing prism. (I should add that one of the film’s producers is Gerald R. Molen, who was also one of the producers of Steven Spielberg’s Best Picture Oscar winner Schindler’s List.)

Inevitably praised by far-right pundits, 2016 Obama’s America has been mostly ignored elsewhere. The film, however, has the honor of having been noticed by the New York Times. Needless to say, that bastion of radical far-left thought (or so right-wingers claim) gave D’Souza and Sullivan’s documentary a scathing review.

Referring to 2016 Obama’s America as “strident,” the Times’ critic Andy Webster explained: “Eventually, we see blunt imagery like Benjamin Franklin’s face on a burning $100 bill and a shot of the Statue of Liberty. Not interviewed by the filmmakers are Obama’s political supporters, but this isn’t that kind of documentary. At a show on Saturday night, the film’s conclusion was met with claps and cries of ‘Romney!,’ ‘Ron Paul!,’ ‘Reagan!’ and ‘Another Reagan!'”

Variety‘s Joe Leydon was equally unimpressed. “For the bulk of its running time,” writes Leydon, 2016 Obama’s America “comes off as a cavalcade of conspiracy theories, psycho-politico conjectures and incendiary labeling – ‘breathtakingly anti-America’ is only one of the epithets tossed about like so much confetti – as D’Souza and assorted interviewees question Obama’s patriotism, deny his support of Israel, decry his Big Government programs, and generally recycle claims, charges and dire warnings D’Souza (and others) have previously promulgated in books, lectures, op-ed screeds and various Fox News guest appearances.”

(In case you’re wondering how Joe Leydon’s negative take on 2016 Obama’s America could be considered a “fresh tomato” on Rotten Tomatoes, that’s further evidence of the inanity of that site’s movie-review-labeling practices.)

2016 Obama’s America movie box office

At one location in Texas, 2016 Obama’s America collected $31,610 on its debut weekend, July 13-15. The addition of a handful of theaters in the next three weekends didn’t necessarily lead to higher revenues, but an expansion to 61 locations on weekend no. 5 (Aug. 10-12) led to a surge in ticket sales, followed by another surge this past weekend (Aug. 17-19): $1.24 million at 169 sites, for a not inconsiderable $7,365 per-theater average.

2016 Obama’s America was no. 13 on the domestic box office chart, right behind Seth MacFarlane / Mark Wahlberg’s Ted – it should be noted that the top 12 movies were all screening at more than 1,000 theaters. Among the weekend’s top 20 movies, 2016 Obama’s America per-theater average trailed only those of Salman Khan’s Hindi-language actioner Ek Tha Tiger ($9,495 at 120 locations) and Sylvester Stallone / Liam Hemsworth’s The Expendables 2 ($8,622 at 3,316 locations).

So, is 2016 Obama’s America an “arthouse” hit? Well, not exactly. Though not a downright bomb, after six weekends 2016 Obama’s America has yet to reach its reported $2.5 million budget. (That should easily happen next weekend.) And bear in mind that the film has grossed less than half of Atlas Shrugged: Part I‘s $4.26 million.

2016 Obama's America movie Dinesh D'Souza George Obama2016 America’s Obama Movie vs. Atlas Shrugged

So, why was Atlas Shrugged: Part I a box office bomb? Because it cost a reported $20 million. Directed by Paul Johansson, the critically massacred adaptation of the first third or so of Ayn Rand’s mammoth novel featured Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart (Schilling is now much better known as Zac Efron’s romantic interest in The Lucky One), Grant Bowler, and Michael O’Keefe. [Photo: Dinesh D’Souza and George Obama in 2016 Obama’s America.]

Now, if accurate, 2016 Obama’s America‘s tiny budget makes it a much safer commercial bet than something as ambitious as Atlas Shrugged. But then again, keep in mind that at least 50 percent of a film’s box office gross goes to the exhibitors, and that 2016 Obama’s America‘s $2.5 million production budget doesn’t include distribution and marketing costs.

For comparison’s sake: Atlas Shrugged‘s best weekend was its first, when the Ayn Rand adaptation raked in $1.68 million at 299 venues, averaging $5,640 per site. From then on, it was a steep downhill ride. Now, remember that all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters, the higher the per-theater average should be – hence, 2016 Obama’s America‘s $7,365 average at 169 venues doesn’t necessarily mean “a bigger success” than Atlas Shrugged.

Thus, at this stage it’s unclear whether 2016 Obama’s America will have enough stamina to allow for further expansions, or if the far-right fan base of Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan’s documentary has already been exhausted. Next weekend will tell us.

2016 Obama’s America vs. Fahrenheit 9/11

Wrapping this up: comparisons have been made between 2016 Obama’s America and Michael Moore’s global blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11. But only a far-right lunatic could believe that 2016 Obama’s America will achieve anything even remotely close to the success and prestige of Moore’s effort, which earned $222.4 million worldwide in addition to dozens of awards.

In fact, chances of 2016 Obama’s America finding any distribution – let alone finding success – outside the United States (and perhaps Canada?) are slim, as each country’s right-wing crowd (and their fellow nationalists of whichever political persuasion) have their own local demons and heroes. They couldn’t care less about those of their American counterparts.

Dinesh D’Souza and George Obama 2016 Obama’s America photo: Rocky Mountain Pictures.

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Garyman -

We just got back from watching “2016”, and what an excellent documentary about a man (America’s 44th president), who most people knew nothing about. I learned more about Obama in that 90 minutes than I learned since his election campaign of 2007.
It looks like all those millions Obama spent keeping his past “sealed” can’t keep everybody from finding much of his hidden past. At the end of the documentary the theater applauded with such exuberance, which I haven’t seen since E.T. was released.
This should have been revealed to American voters in 2007!

Benaiah Anderson -

I am curious what those same reviewers who describe 2016 as a “strident”, “incendiary”, conspiracy-theory” movie would describe any of the films by Michael Moore… Don’t liberal reviewers usually call his propaganda films “brilliant”, “scathing”, “relevant”? At least D’souza is asking questions, questions the liberal media should have asked a loooong time ago.

The New York Times doesn’t have the best record wen it comes to being neutral on any issue, films or news events or politics, of course they panned a conservative film, again, what did they have to say about Moore?…

Cortney -

I think this movie is totally ridiculous! Yes… Michael Moore did make a documentary, but not during election time. I have never seen such sneeky, snake like tactics to try and keep our President from taking office again. If you want to make this movie post election, then fine, but during election time shows very little class from the Republicans. If you win, you should win fairly, not by this type of grade school style actions!

bruce baker -

What lies were told in Farenheit 9/11? Care to document that statement? Please do….or are you just lying?

I’m a political independent and this ‘film’ sounds like a smear job, but I’ll see it anyway and make up my own mind. I’ll probably buy a ticket to another film though…not sure I want to give any $ to the skuzz.

J. Nielsen -

I seriously doubt making money was the factor behind this film. Rather it was to make people aware, to uncover the hidden agenda, as to what is driving Obama to turn this country into a socialist society.

What Obama is doing is not for the good of this country. Obama is out to punish this country for the sins of colonialism, which he believes caused his father’s pain. His father’s pain is in turn his pain and this, Obama feels, needs to be redeemed.

To have a President who feels this way is dangerous. Obama has stripped the U.S. of its financial and military power and he won’t stop until he totally destroys this country and its entire worth.


It’s telling that the blogger mutters darkly about a “cavalcade of conspiracy theories” and such, but never gives one example.

editor -

What’s even more telling is that you’re complaining without having bothered to actually read the article.
The blogger didn’t say anything about “conspiracy theories” or cries of “Romney! Ron Paul!”
Those are direct quotes from the “New York Times” and “Variety.”

fizzbin -

“At a show on Saturday night, the film’s conclusion was met with claps and cries of ‘Romney!,’ ‘Ron Paul!,’ ‘Reagan!’ and ‘Another Reagan!’”

Um. Yeah. I’m sure that happened.

Anne -

It’s okay when Michael Moore makes movies about left wing conspiracies. He tells lies about President George W Bush and crucifies capitalism in our country (something he has been able to take advantage of), but when a documentary comes out…about this horrible left wing, truly marxist president…the media all but ignores it.

That’s fine. If he is re-elected we will go bankrupt, we will become Greece and our, once amazing country will become nothing…which is the “change” this marxist president wanted. This movie tells the truth that no one in the media will cover. That left wing liberals don’t want to know.

This movie is a hit….but if barry hussein is re-elected (make no mistake) we will fall and it will partly all the left wing socialists fault.

zircon -

if you gave creedence to M Moore and his rant, why so negative on 2016 Obama.
I hope to see the movie soon, not shown yet in Pittburgh where I live. I hope it is not being repressed in this Democrat bastion.

I only want obama to release his passport he used to travel to Pakistan when travel on a US passport was forbidden at the time. Thats all. That passport will explain everything.
Plain and simple. remember when his grandmother died during the campaign in Honolulu, no press, no inquiries allowed about her. Nothing. Seems to me the “Cleaners” came by while obama was there. yes he may be a fraud, sorry to say it. finally, what has he done to make the working mans life better, not a darn thing. No budget, no tax relief, no jobs plan, no thing, except fear if Rpublicans get voted in. disgusting. NOBO, BOISBS, Happy in Pittsburgh, Zircon.

William Peters -

I live in Alberta, Canada. How or where can I view the movie 2016 obama?
Many thanks


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