After a massive promotional campaign and a dash of controversy, HBO’s Game Change premiered with an average of 2.1 million viewers at 9 PM on Saturday to become the network’s most watched original film in almost 8 years, since the 2004 Something The Lord Made (2.6 million). The movie about John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and the meteoric rise of Sarah Palin from a little known Alaska Governor to super-star Republican running mate, doubled the premiere audience of the previous HBO movie from the same writer (Danny Strong) and director (Jay Roach), Recount, which chronicled events surrounding the 2000 presidential elections. It also outperformed the opening nights of recent HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce (1.3 million), Generation Kill (1 million) and John Adams (1.8 million). For the weekend, Game Change averaged 3.6 million viewers over multiple plays. The movie has been met with criticism by Palin and aids for the McCain-Palin ticket, with the former Alaska governor calling it “Hollywood lies.”
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