*An anti-Obama documentary featuring an interview with the president’s half-brother opened in a single theater in Texas over the weekend and, despite alleged complaints from some consumers who were upset with the film’s content, it grossed an estimated $31,750, a strong showing for any independent release, notes the Hollywood Reporter.
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The film, “2016: Obama’s America,” based on conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, had a free, promotional screening at Edwards Houston Marq’E Stadium 23 & Imax on Thursday. Management had planned to show it in one of its medium-sized auditoriums, but bumped it to one the multiplex’s largest rooms and turned away 200 people.
Sources say some moviegoers sat in the aisles Thursday and waited as much as 90 minutes to meet D’Souza and Gerald Molen, one of the Oscar-winning producers of “Schindler’s List,” who was a co-producer of “2016” along with Doug Sain. For some of its regular showings over the weekend, the theater offered “2016” on multiple screens, including three sold-out auditoriums for the 7 p.m. Friday showing.
If the weekend estimate from the movie’s distributor, Rocky Mountain Pictures, holds when final numbers are reported later today, the film will have bested the per-theater number posted by the Al Gore documentary about global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which opened to $123,549 in four theaters in 2006 for a per-theater average of $30,887.
The management at the Regal Entertainment-owned theater did receive some complaints over its decision to present 2016. “The theater manager said they received a lot of phone calls from people arguing they shouldn’t show the movie,” Sain said. “His response was, ‘We don’t make movies, we just show them.’”
According to Sain, the manager compared the reaction to 2016 to that of Fahrenheit 9/11, but said it was not as dramatic as some complaints over “The Passion of the Christ” that same year. The manager told Sain that during the controversial Mel Gibson film people went into the theater to try to disrupt the film and that it was necessary to have security remove them.
“So they weren’t flying by the seat of their pants with ‘2016.’ They know how to respond to controversy,” Sain said.
Regal spokesman Russ Nunley said some people “were around the box office wearing pro Obama tees to express their view.” But he said the protest was “very low key and not confrontational.” He also said theater managers received “many positive comments thanking them for playing the film.”