Dinesh D’Souza and the team behind the recently released documentary America: Imagine The World Without Her still want to know why Google won’t display the show times for their movie. Earlier this week, lawyers for the conservative author/filmmaker sent a second letter to the tech giant’s chief legal officer David Drummond trying to get the situation resolved, I’ve learned. The July 16 letter from Sheppard, Mullin attorney Kelly Crabb requested “that Google correctly display information for America: Imagine The World Without Her in the same way it displays information for other movies currently in theaters.”
You’d think that would be a simple enough request for one of the world’s top search engines. But in this case, you’d be wrong. “I don’t know what the point of a search engine is if people can’t access the information they’re looking for,” a frustrated D’Souza told me today. In addition to no showtimes listed, no click-through poster for the pic appears in the Google banner search result — though 2004’s Team America, Fox’s The Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the as-yet-unreleased The Avengers: Age Of Ultron do.
This most recent letter to Google comes after the tech company’s previous solution to the problem was to pull down almost all the info about the docu. Before, Google searchers were seeing the poster and title of D’Souza’s previous pic — 2012′s 2016: Obama’s America — when they searched for America. After the filmmakers had their lawyer contact the company last week, there was even less. “Google’s fix …was to remove the times and other details altogether,” notes the 2-page letter, sent Wednesday. “The result is that now a filmgoer interested in America: Imagine The World Without Her must research available links to find information that is readily available for other motion pictures.”
Google said in a statement this week in response to the first letter that this was basically a database problem because America is “a common term and appears in many movie titles.” The company also said it would take some time as their system wasn’t “fully updated yet to display show times” for the recently released pic. Google did not respond today to attempts to contact them about the new letter. “Given the cost and limited time frame for the wide release of a motion picture in the United States, our client is understandably concerned about anything that would tend to limit the audience for the film,” it reads. “Google is perhaps the world’s leading search site and these problems could have a serious impact on the market for the film.”
Distributed by Lionsgate nationwide in about 1,100 theaters beginning July 2, America has made more than $8.2 million in box office as of last weekend. It still has a lot of ground to make up to match its predecessor: 2016: Obama’s America grossed $33.4 million, which made it the second-most-successful politico docu ever after 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
Watch on Deadline
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.