Hey, did you see Michael Moore’s new anti-Trump movie Fahrenheit 11/9 this weekend? No? Well, you’re not alone. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film is on its way to being an epic flop at the box office.
The news isn’t good for a trio of high-profile fall festival films opening nationwide at the Friday box office — Michael Moore’s new doc Fahrenheit 11/9, the edgy teen black comedy Assassination Nation and Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself, according to early returns…
Unless traffic picks up, Fahrenheit 11/9 is headed for a sixth-place finish with a $3 million-$4 million debut from 1,719 theaters (pre-release tracking had suggested at least $5 million-$6 million).
Moore’s satirical, anti-Trump film marks the first release from Tom Ortenberg’s new company, Briarcliff. (Ortenberg worked with Moore on Fahrenheit 9/11 while stationed at Lionsgate.)
Don’t worry. I’m not going to torture you with a review of the film since I didn’t see it either. But we’re seeing an interesting phenomenon here. At least when it comes to books, writing anything negative about Donald Trump has been something of a goldmine for many authors. So shouldn’t that translate to filling seats in theaters for a film with a similar theme?
Apparently not. When Moore released his anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004 it actually performed far above expectations. They initially put it in less than 870 theaters and it raked in almost $24M in the first weekend. This time, perhaps expecting lightning to strike twice, the new move was in more than 1,700 theaters, but it failed to sell even 20% as many tickets. How could this be?
Liberal audiences are obviously not burned out with anti-Trump material, as demonstrated by recent book sales. So perhaps they’re finally burning out on Moore himself. Or perhaps Moore is just falling victim to the established pattern of people not wanting to buy tickets for movies about politics in any fashion. (Miss Sloane remains one of the biggest turkeys in Hollywood history.) Dinesh D’Souza’s Death of a Nation had similar ticket sales this year, though it was only released initially in a little over 1,000 theaters. Or perhaps it’s a combination of both.
When was the last time that Michael Moore actually had a hit movie? Or even one that at least broke even? I find myself wondering where he’s getting the money to keep cranking out these flops.