Sarah Palin Flick Opens to Empty House

A reporter from The Atlantic visiting his parents in Orange County, CA, home to one of 10 theaters across the country playing a new documentary about Sarah Palin, decided to go check it out and maybe interview some of those in attendance. Only no one showed up.

He watched it alone (except when two tourists walked in, not knowing the movie was about Palin, and they left after 20 minutes.):

"We looked online for the latest movie playing," Jessie added. "But all the Harry Potters were sold out, and then we saw 'The Undeafeated.' We don't even actually know what we're seeing."

Probably wasn't the action flick they were expecting. At the end, a couple came in to sit in the back row and make out, but they left too. So the reporter had no one to interview. [More...]

Reading the comments to the article, this one by someone who was willing to use his name and photo (i.e., not an anonymous comment) struck me:

She's the most unpopular politician in America; she has ZERO chance to be the Republican nominee (which is why she's not running). You'd be hard-pressed to find someone much more right-wing than I am (my politics put me somewhere midway between Patrick Buchanan and David Duke), yet if there were only two candidates on the ballot, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin, and it was a close race, and I lived in a swing state...I'd have to to vote for Obama. And trust me, I take no pleasure in admitting that.

Sarah Palin, so last year. I haven't mentioned her name in 6 months, when I wrote:

I don't really care what Sarah Palin thinks. It's time for the media to stop reporting and analyzing every attempt she makes to insert herself into the national news.

On a brighter note, every time Sarah Palin speaks, she manages to make herself more polarizing and further decreases her chances of getting a sufficient majority of Republican voters to support any future political bid for national office. She is no more electable today than she was in 2008. She will not get her party's nomination for 2012. Why keep feeding her lust for attention?

Why tonight? Probably just boredom. As I wrote in my last post of 2010, summing up the year:

We got a real release from boredom when Sarah Palin showed up in 2008. This most uneducated, unpolished, underbody (my term for someone who is less than a nobody) comes along and rattles our cages good. The half of the country that still had a modicum of common sense left in their brain were able to spring into action, mobilize and tear her to shreds. She was left holding the only costume that didn't have to go back to Saks: the one for the Emperor with no Clothes. She's not nearly as interesting this time around, and since she will never again become a nominee for either one of the two highest offices in the land, laughing at her has become so last year. This year, we can just tune her out. She's just boring now.

And maybe just to let her know her movie flop isn't going unnoticed, in case she gets some crazy idea that she has a future place in national politics.

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    Congratulations gyrfalcon, (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 11:48:27 PM EST
    you have the good sense to doubt this strange individual in Orange County that goes to a theater at 12AM to check out a brand new movie and claims (this is the strange part) that the attendance at it at this time is of importance.  This person is deluded to think he has found out something important, and those who cheer his findings need to put on their thinking caps or something and especially look both ways when they cross streets.

    It seems to be just a setup designed to get a desired result.

    First the usual disclaimers.

    1.  Palin will not and should not be President.
    2.  Palin and the messages she brings are a force on the right.
    3.  Palin will increase her personal fortune with her popularity.  Indeed she is a celebrity.

    Now that said, and with the number 2 point above in mind and looking only at this documentary, I read of another person that went later in the weekend, to a theater with the documentary, and found that the theater was half full.  The average age of the people was a little under 50.  No one left the theater early, and in fact and the observer marveled at this, no one left to go to the rest room.  They watched with rapt attention.  
    -- That said I couldn't find that article which I remember was related somehow to the ?peoplesviews.net? or something like that, I looked around just now and easily found this.


    "Sunday, July 17, 2011
    More on The Undefeated's Strong Attendance and Better-Than-Expected Grosses
    Competing against opening day of the long-awaited final chapter of Harry Potter - which exploded all first day records of any film in history -  "The Undefeated" still filled theaters in most of its markets with audiences who cheered and gave standing ovations for the indie straight-up documentary about Sarah Palin, grossing an average of $5,000 per theater over the weekend through Saturday.

    Harry Klady in Movie City News reports The Undefeated's estimated Friday-only grosses at $2870 per theater (ARC reported today $5000 per theater through Saturday). To understand how The Undefeated's turn out compares, listen to what Klady says about Harry Potter's amazing gross: "Regardless, selling 50% of all available ticket inventory to a movie on more than a dozen screens on any day is a mammoth achievement. Don't think I am undercutting the success of the film by rolling out these numbers. I'm just trying to offer up something that might not be the same 3 paragraphs on this that everyone is writing this morning. A different angle. But 50% is HUGE. Especially now.

    "Over the years, I have developed the habit of checking in with busy urban theaters to see how many shows the big openers are selling out. You rarely see those sell-outs more than an hour in advance of anything but the 1 or 2 prime-time Fri/Sat screenings anymore, even in the most popular theaters."

    Box Office Mojo lists Weekend Grosses for the top movies, along with the number of theaters screening them and the per-theater average gross. It will give you a good perspective on how much, per theater, any film might be expected to make on a given weekend. For example, when Atlas Shrugged opened, it averaged $5,640. This weekend, Winnie the Pooh averaged $3,326, Transformers Dark of the Moon averaged $5,425.

    Box Office Mojo also has a chart listing political documentary grosses since 1982. Here's the link to opening weekend.   Michael Moore's "Capitalism A Love Story"? It grossed $4,623 its opening weekend, back when people still had money to go to the movies.

    So The Undefeated is performing very nicely, no matter whose numbers you compare it to!

    PS One more update:  Here's a great article on Nielson's site called "Beyond Opening Weekend" that may be useful to learn more about how movies earn money for their distributors and the theaters that show them - the most profitable are those that audiences keep going to see long after opening weekend is gone. And The Undefeated appeals to exactly the demographic that can make that happen."
    That doesn't mean Palin will be President, but it does show that anyone that laughs at her doesn't appreciate her impact on America.

    So According To The Invisible Hand (4.67 / 3) (#10)
    by john horse on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 08:09:19 AM EST
    of capitalism, the public indicates demand for a product by its purchases.

    Now consider the success of liberal leaning documentaries like "Fahrenheit 9/11" and "An Incovenient Truth" and the failure of rightwing documentaries like "Unconquered".

    Is this because the Left makes more entertaining movies?  Or is it because of the message?  Or is it both?  

    Its amazing that the right extolls the marketplace but when it comes to documentaries they don't seem able to compete.  

    I like documentaries (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 08:36:02 AM EST
    It is interesting right now that 'Hot Coffee' and 'Injustice' are the Leftwing documentary about tort reform and the Rightwing.  I had no idea that essentially they would be like that.  I wasn't even going to watch 'Injustice' because of who financed it....Forbes.  But it is important to know what the talking points are though.

    invisible hand and Rush Limbaugh (none / 0) (#24)
    by diogenes on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 08:32:57 PM EST
    So the public demands Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin and has no interest in Air America, proving that the majority supports conservatism???

    They Play To Different Markets (none / 0) (#26)
    by john horse on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 05:47:54 AM EST
    My guess is that the people who pay money to see documentaries tend to be better educated than the people who listen to Rush.

    so how do you rate (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Sat Jul 16, 2011 at 10:04:40 PM EST
    Bachmann's chances? She is nuttier than Palin, but smarter too.

    I'm betting she can't sustain looking (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Sat Jul 16, 2011 at 11:16:00 PM EST
    less crazy than Palin for the duration :)

    I haven't read a single thing (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 01:29:28 AM EST
    about her yet. I'm hoping I don't have to learn.

    There's something about her (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 06:47:56 AM EST
    marriage and the coverage that all that is getting that I don't see being able to stand.  She becamse a tax attorney because her husband ordered to?  So if you vote her in as President you are really just giving it to her husband?  She's just too weird and the neat cool details of her life will sink her like a stone.

    You're leaving out a couple more fun facts (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by scribe on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:31:05 PM EST
    like how her husband's counseling practice seems to have a specialty in "pray away the gay" treatments for gay people, and
    how much money she made off being a foster mother to dozens of kids.

    She's a real peach, and, like one in the heat of August, she'll go moldy and rotten in a couple days.


    I think so too (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:32:35 PM EST
    For a fleeting moment, Jeralyn, I (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 12:20:06 AM EST
    thought you went to see the Palin movie!

    well yeah, (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 01:53:13 AM EST
    but i bet those other nine theatres were packed!

    ok, maybe not.

    Reading the article (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 09:44:05 AM EST
    it's not entirely clear, but it appears he went to the very first showing-- at midnight.  How many Palin fans are going to go to a midnight showing, especially on the same night every teenager they know is flocking to Harry Potter in the same complex?

    I doubt there are going to be huge crowds for Palin's silly movie, but I also doubt this particular reporter's experience means much of anything one way or another.


    apparently it does. (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 10:26:21 AM EST
    from what i've been reading, while not necessarily typical, crowds aren't exactly lining up around their respective blocks for this epic of right-wingnut mythology. at best, the movie seems to be drawing half houses, regardless of showing times.

    i know this is terribly unfair, but everytime i read or see anything about this "documentary", the image of leni riefenstahl comes to mind.


    Actually, they are (none / 0) (#18)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:10:37 PM EST
    in some hotbeds of Palin fandom, or at least the showings are selling out.

    But that's not my point.  My point is only that the absence of eager patrons at the first midnight showing of a documentary (one that's not going to appeal people younger than middle age) isn't a good way to measure the appeal of either the movie or the subject of the movie.


    Too good to check? (none / 0) (#6)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:45:57 AM EST
    I don't doubt that for one showtime at one theatre, no one showed up for the Palin movie.  I'm sure that sort of thing happens all the time to much better movies than the Palin flick.  

    But I wonder if it's a mistake to try to spin the Atlantic story into some sort of tipping point paradigm shift a-ha! moment of cultural significance (the way some of the media seems to be doing today) without doing some independent reporting of how the movie is doing at other theaters around the country. Since this week is apparenty still a 'test' rollout to just 10 theaters, I'm not sure whether or not they even have the promotion machine tuned up in all markets.

    For what it's worth, Ben Smith at Politco had an item this week that featured an excellent chart of top-grossing 'comparable films'.

    LINK - Ben Smith - An Undefeated Benchmark

    The chart is very interesting.  I hadn't realized just how successful (in box office terms) Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was.

    For what it's worth, I watched The Undefeated the other night on TV.  It wasn't great (Andrew McGlagen was never really in John Ford's league.)  But Rock Hudson was quite good in the movie, and any film featuring Ben Johnson is usually worth watching.  I don't know why anyone would want to re-make it.

    agreed, (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 02:55:48 AM EST
    especially with ms. palin taking over mr. hudson's character. he was a much more stylish dresser than ms. palin can ever hope to be.

    I definitely agree on Ben Johnson. (none / 0) (#28)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 10:48:58 PM EST
    I even liked him in "Red Dawn," and that's saying something.

    "That's not my department." Sgt. Tyree, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."


    Palin (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 07:25:58 AM EST
    is old news. She whined when the media DIDN'T cover her and then whined when the DID.

    Me thinks Michele Bachmann has stolen her crown.

    Not yet (none / 0) (#12)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 09:35:31 AM EST
    I'm actually hoping the media doesn't forget Palin or Bachmann just yet. Everytime either of them open their mouth they damage the Republican brand.

    They are both so out of step with the country that if they are the true bearers of the Republican banner, Democrat's will maintain the WH, Senate and regain the house!

    John McCain should be ashamed. (none / 0) (#15)
    by ROGNM on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 12:47:55 PM EST
    And he owes the GOP an apology.

    It was (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 01:32:04 PM EST
    McCain's way of committing suicide - or throwing in the towel -- much like Gore choosing Lieberman.

    It was (none / 0) (#17)
    by lentinel on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 01:32:37 PM EST
    McCain's way of committing suicide - or throwing in the towel -- much like Gore choosing Lieberman.

    Reminds me of the glory days of (none / 0) (#21)
    by scribe on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 03:33:26 PM EST
    Vince McMahon's (WWE-spinoff) XFL (spring football) and its stellar TV ratings.  Like we said back then, the way to predict next week's ratings was to put this week's into the calculator, then hit the square root key.

    The only good, lasting things to come out of that were the preceding ratings joke and a running back who wore the name "He Hate Me" across the shoulders of his jersey.

    this is off topic (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 04:32:54 PM EST
    I should have been more clear (none / 0) (#27)
    by scribe on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 07:37:18 AM EST
    I was comparing Palin's cratering and cratered popularity/electability to the way the XFL cratered and burnt - it had great ratings the first week and then it was hit the square root key every week thereafter, until by the end of the season no one watched and no one cared.

    Wouldn't it have been (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sun Jul 17, 2011 at 07:19:10 PM EST
    A better idea to put Ms. Palin's name first in the title of the movie?