Film Numbers Reveal Obama on Minds of Americans

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The political documentary 2016: Obama’s America, made a stunning run over the weekend in more than 1,000 theaters across the nation. The movie took in an estimated $6.3 million, making it the highest-grossing new film.

Overall, 2016 was the eighth-highest grossing film of the weekend and had the highest per-screen average of any major release. It played in two-thirds fewer theaters across North America than the other wider-release films.

Debuting the previous weekend in 169 theaters, the Rocky Mountain Pictures release, which examines how the re-election of the president would impact the nation in the next four years, has now grossed more than $9 million.

With the Republication National Convention held in Tampa, Fla., this week, the film looks to gain more traction.

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Produced by Academy award-winning producer Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar for his work on Schindler’s List, and produced hits such as Jurassic Park, Minority Report and Hook, 2016 was co-written and co-directed by Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan and is based on D’Souza’s best-selling books The Roots of Obama’s Rage and Obama’s America. D’Souza expressed gratitude for the massive turnout and pledged to meet consumer demand.

“We still live in a consumer-driven capitalistic economy, and if there is demand we will do everything we can to meet it with supply,” D’Souza said. “Our plan is to do our best to expand this film to as many theaters as the people demand. We’ll be taking a close look at various markets and determining where we go next.”

Despite sharp criticism from the left, Molen has stuck to his principles about the film’s content.

“All of my movies have been about telling the truth,” Molen said. “That’s important to me. We’ve gone out of our way to make a movie that’s fair and truthful. And these numbers tell me that the American people agree with that assessment.”

The success of the movie was not without obstacles, however. Earlier in the week, several media outlets reported that fans searching for the flick at popular film sites found that a simple search yielded no results and it was excluded from a number of film guides published in newspapers across the country. 

2016: Obama’s America was filmed on four continents and features on-camera interviews with those who knew Obama, including his destitute half-brother George Obama in Kenya and Philip Ochieng, who was a close associate of Barack Obama Sr.

The top-grossing political documentary of all-time is Michael Moore’s anti-George Bush Fahrenheit 911, which took in $119.2 million overall in 2004. Bush won re-election that year.

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