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Galvanizing conservatives, Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan’s documentary 2016: Obama’s America grossed a stellar $6.3 million as it expanded nationwide over the weekend, beating a trio of new films.
The anti-Barack Obama film, opening last month in only a few theaters, boasts a domestic cume of $9.2 million, the top gross of the year for a documentary (excluding nature films). Bully was the previous crownholder with $3.5 million.
Among other records, Obama’s America is now the top conservative documentary of all time, beating out Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed ($7.7 million).
Obama’s America — promoted heavily on talk radio and distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures — timed its nationwide expansion to the Republican National Convention, which gets underway this week in Tampa, Fla. The convention was supposed to get underway Monday, but tropical storm Isaac is complicated plans.
Otherwise, it was a dismal weekend for new offerings. Holdovers dominated the box-office chart, led by Lionsgate and Millennium Films’ Expendables 2, which grossed $13.5 million in its second weekend for a 10-day domestic cume of $52.3 million.
Sony’s new Joseph Gordon-Levitt action thriller Premium Rush came in No. 8, opening to a muted $6.3 million. The film cost just north of $30 million to produce and is directed by noted screenwriter David Koepp, who co-wrote the script with John Kamps.
Premium Rush centers on a New York City bicycle messenger (Gordon-Levitt) who is pursued throughout the city by a dirty cop (Michael Shannon) who wants an envelope the messenger is carrying. Gavin Palone produced.
New offbeat indie comedy Hit & Run placed No. 10 for the weekend, grossing a disappointing $4.7 million for a five-day opening of $5.9 million.
Hit & Run, from Open Road Films, stars Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold and is a romantic action comedy about a former getaway driver who emerges from witness protection to help his girlfriend get to California. It was produced for less than $2 million, excluding a nationwide marketing spend.
Dark Castle’s supernatural thriller The Apparition, which Warner Bros. is distributing, couldn’t crack the top 10 in its debut, grossing $2.3 million to come in No. 12. Directed by Todd Lincoln, the film stars Twilight’s Ashley Green.
At the specialty box office, Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, written and produced by This American Life’s Ira Glass broke house records at the IFC Center in New York, grossing $65,000. The film, based on Birbiglia’s one-man show, is from IFC Films.
Also opening at the IFC Center was Linda Goldstein Knowlton’s acclaimed documentary Somewhere Between, about the wave of Chinese girls adopted and brought to the U.S. The film grossed a solid $7,877. Knowlton directed and produced the doc.
Long Shot Factory is distributing Somewhere Between, which opens in Los Angeles in mid-September. Longshot’s Erin Owens joked, “hopefully Ira Glass won’t show up there too — though if he’d like to see the film, we’re happy to comp him at ticket.”
Specialty release Samsara also pleased in its debut, grossing $73,792 from two theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a per screen average of $36,896. Oscilloscope is distributing the film.
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