Updated: October 17, 2012 6:23AM
LOS ANGELES — While it hasn’t yet reached the lofty level of 2004’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” at the box office, “2016: Obama’s America” has become the hottest political documentary of the year.
And it comes from Hollywood’s conservative corner, a spot normally reserved for faith-based movies.
Produced by Dinesh D’Souza, “2016” cracked the top 10 for the third straight week — rare for a documentary, let alone a political one.
But the film’s message — that the Barack Obama administration would run amok if re-elected — has found a larger audience than analysts expected.
The film opened on one screen in Houston when it premiered July 13, earning $31,000 that weekend. Distributors expanded the movie to 10 theaters Aug. 3.
It since has collected $26.1 million, the sixth-highest-grossing documentary of all time, says Hollywood.com.
“The conservatives [found] their Michael Moore,” says John Hamann of Boxofficeprophets.com, referring to the controversial “Fahrenheit” director.
The bar for records among documentaries isn’t stratospheric: “2016” remains behind such films as last year’s concert movie “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” which, at $73 million, is the third-biggest documentary on record, according to Boxofficemojo.com.
The non-fiction movie champ remains Moore’s anti-Bush “Fahrenheit,” which did $119 million in 2004.
Few see that mark coming into jeopardy, though 2016 could have opened a new door for conservative voices.
“The way conservatives have been represented is through faith-based movies,” such as the “Omega Code” and “Left Behind” franchises, says Hollywood.com’s Paul Dergarabedian. “This shows what you can do with a political documentary when the timing is right.”
Gannett News Service