Battling Obama at the Box Office

'Obama 2016' poised to become breakout hit

2016: Obama's America poster
• August 24, 2012 10:41 am


2016: Obama’s America, a new documentary based on Dinesh D’Souza’s bestselling book, is on the verge of becoming a breakout hit, according to Entertainment Weekly.

A politically charged documentary called 2016: Obama’s America turned heads last weekend when it grossed a whopping $1.24 million out of just 169 theaters.

The $2.5 million independent film, which is being distributed by Utah-based Rocky Mountain Pictures, premiered in Houston six weeks ago and has recently enjoyed some extremely uncharacteristic box office behavior.

You see, normally, when a film’s theater count increases, the amount of money it’s earning in each theater decreases. This is the standard performance pattern for a limited release and follows common supply/demand logic.

Here’s how things have gone for 2016: Obama’s America, though: Three weekends ago, 2016 earned $34,133 out of 10 theaters, which gave it a per theater average of $3,413 — not all that remarkable for a limited release. When it expanded into 61 theaters the next weekend, its per theater average did a funny thing: it jumped up to $5,202. Last weekend, the film experienced an even bigger expansion, into 169 theaters, and again, its per theater average substantially leapt up to $7,365.

As EW notes, "this almost never happens." Compare the per-theater average of 2016 to Michael Moore’s anti-Bush documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. Whereas 2016’s per-theater gross has more than doubled in its first three weekends of release, Moore’s film’s per-theater gross tumbled by nearly 80 percent between weekends one and three.