Bush Derangement Syndrome fizzles in movie theaters:
The provocative film “Death of a President,” which imagines the assassination of George W. Bush, bombed at the North American box office with a meager $282,000 grossed from 143 theaters in its first weekend.
The pseudo-documentary played at 91 U.S. theaters and 52 Canadian cinemas during its first three days of release, averaging an estimated $1,970 per screen, according to distributor Newmarket Films, which reportedly paid $1 million for U.S. rights to the picture.
“That’s a very poor opening,” said Brandon Gray, an analyst at industry watcher Web site boxofficemojo.com.
…Newmarket distribution chief Richard Abramowitz called the opening tally for “Death of a President” “a little disappointing” in light of the “enormous awareness” generated by the film since its premiere last month at the Toronto Film Festival.
At least two national theater chains boycotted the film and some television networks refused to accept paid ads for the movie. Politicians across the spectrum, from the Republican Party of Texas, Bush’s home state, to New York Democratic Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized the film for portraying the murder of a sitting president.
Abramowitz, whose company also released
Mel Gibson’s highly controversial blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” acknowledged that the subject matter of “Death of a President” might have proved to be a turnoff for American audiences.
“The very thing that drew all the attention to the film became at a certain point difficult to overcome,” he told Reuters. “The controversy … made the film very visible but not necessarily for reasons that would compel potential moviegoers to go to the theater.”
Studios typically aim to widen the distribution of limited-release films once they open but Abramowitz said he expected “Death of a President” would end up on fewer screens next weekend…
Maybe it’s a harbinger for the midterms?
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