LOS ANGELES (AP) — It wasn't backed by any Hollywood movie studio. Reviews were mostly negative. It premiered in Houston, not Los Angeles or New York. And yet despite the unconventional release of "2016: Obama's America," the movie is now among the most successful political documentaries of all time — and it doesn't show signs of cooling down ahead of the presidential election.
The conservative film exploring the roots of President Barack Obama's political views surprised the film industry when it took in $6.5 million to land at No. 7 at last weekend's domestic box office ahead of three new releases: the Joseph Gordon-Levitt action flick "Premium Rush," the Kristen Bell comedy "Hit and Run" and the Ashley Greene horror film "The Apparition."
That makes "2016" the most successful conservative documentary of all time. It's also the sixth overall highest grossing political documentary behind four Michael Moore movies and former Vice President Al Gore's environmental film "An Inconvenient Truth." It all adds up to a remarkable triumph for an indie film that circumvented the liberal waters of Hollywood.
The film has continued to do well during the slower weekday period, especially considering that it's been up against the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Since last weekend, it earned an additional $6.6 million for a total of $13.1 million, placing No. 3 at the domestic box office on Thursday. This weekend, the film expands from 1091 screens to nearly 1,800.
Distributed by Salt Lake City-based Rocky Mountain Pictures, "2016" is directed by Dinesh D'Souza, a former staffer for President Ronald Reagan who is now president of King's College in New York and author of several books, including "The Roots of Obama's Rage," the basis for "2016" that claims Obama's beliefs are rooted in the anti-colonialism of his late father, a Kenyan academic who was largely absent from the president's life.