Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore’s latest documentary endeavor — “Fahrenheit 11/9,” an homage to 2004’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” — flopped at the box office on its opening weekend.
What are the details?
According to Box Office Mojo, “Fahrenheit 11/9 brought in an estimated $3.1 million from 1,719 locations, bringing in an average of just $1,804 per theater.
Pre-release tracking suggested that the film would rake in between $5 million and $6 million on its opening weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
However, Briarcliff Entertainment, the distribution company behind the film, said that they are confident.
“We’re optimistic,” distribution head Steven Bunnell said. “The idea was to have the movie play everywhere before the [November] midterm elections.”
In comparison, “Fahrenheit 9/11” debuted in just 868 locations, but brought in a staggering $23.9 million, breaking the record at the time for highest-grossing documentary.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” was conceived and released in order to reveal what Moore and some Americans perceived as former President George W. Bush’s misdeeds in the days and months leading up to and following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Moore apparently thought that he could replicate the same type of success with “Fahrenheit 11/9” — this time using President Donald Trump and the 2018 midterm elections as fodder for the production.
What are people saying about the film?
Scott Mendelson, senior contributor at Forbes and covering Hollywood and entertainment at large, went on the defensive for Moore, writing in a Monday article that Moore himself didn’t even expect “Fahrenheit 11/9” to be successful.
Mendelson wrote, “In this specific circumstance, the movie was beside the point. Michael Moore didn’t make this film to make boatloads of money. He made the film in order to get his political message out there.
“And whether you agree or disagree with elements of that message, or whether you like the man as a human being regardless of his politics,” he continued, “it is hard to argue that he has been unsuccessful in getting the word out.”
According to Fox News, Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore, said that many people appeared to enjoy the film despite its unimpressive opening weekend revenue.
“Those who did see it really enjoyed it. People have said: Should they have gone limited? Should they have gone wide? I think they needed to get it out there nationwide with midterms six weeks away,” he explained. “But it’s very easy to second-guess how to release a documentary like this. It’s one of the most difficult types of films to release.”
Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations, told Variety that audiences just aren’t interested in the oversaturation of politics eking into the cinema.
“Theaters have always been about escapism, and since potential audiences are constantly bombarded with the he said/she said of politics right now, ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ just comes off as more noise,” Bock said.
Rotten Tomatoes is reporting that the film received a 77 percent approval rating at the time of this writing.