Never mind collective apathy, political docs have won out in 2016, though not by record-breaking numbers. On the eve of the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump supporters and dissenters can unite under the anti-Hillary documentary Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party by Dinesh D’Souza as the year’s biggest doc per theater average opener.
This isn’t the first for D’Souza, who won box office bragging rights during the last Presidential election with 2016: Obama’s America, which laid out a vision of what the U.S. would look like if President Obama were to win a second term, clearly played well to the base and probably then some four years ago. It opened in one theater in July, 2012 grossing over $31K and eventually cumed nearly $33.5 million. Hillary’s America, released by Quality Flix and D’Souza Entertainment and taking down the Democratic presumptive nominee, is estimated to have grossed $77,500 in three theaters, averaging $25,833.
The debut places Hillary well ahead of Sundance Selects’ doc Weiner — the previous 2016 record-holder — which opened in five theaters grossing well over $85K, averaging above $17 in its debut in May. The title has cumed over $1.56 million to date.
Taking a look on the Left, Michael Moore’s latest Where to Invade Next opened in February, though in far more runs. In 308 theaters, it grossed $897K, averaging $2,912, going on to cume $3.82 million theatrically. That total would be huge for most documentary filmmakers, but it was the lowest for Moore in the last decade.
Hillary’s America will go wide just in time for the Republican convention, likely going above Moore’s Next at the box office. The doc will head to 1,200-plus locations next week, which will actually top the screen count for 2016: Obama’s America if all goes to plan.