Michael Moore’s latest, Farenheit11/9, has bombed at the box office. Tackling Donald Trump’s election and his presidency, it languished in its debut over the Sept. 21-23 weekend, placing No. 8 with a lowly $3.1 million from 1,702 theaters.
For Moore, this was a career-worst average of $1,804 per theater, this though Moore worked hard to publicize the opening of the movie. He appeared on MSNBC and CNN; visited The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Real Time With Bill Maher and The View; and was profiled on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter.
Between his Fahrenheit 9/11, a critical examination of then-President George W. Bush, which opened nationwide to a record-shattering $23.9 million from 868 cinemas, and this film, a period of 14 years, social media and the 24/7 news cycle have exploded, and that may have in effect diminished the impact that Moore’s own voice has.
In effect, his new critique of Trump is competing with the daily jokes and attacks lodged by cable news pundits and late-night comedians. This may have, in part, diminished Moore as the ringleader like he seemed to be back when Fahrenheit 9/11 dropped. Instead, he has become part of the chorus these days.
Those backing Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 insist the movie’s opening gross isn’t an issue. Though the movie reportedly cost $4 million to $5 million to make before marketing, “We’re optimistic,” said Briarcliff distribution head Steve Bunnell, noting the film’s A CinemaScore and strong PostTrak exit scores. “The idea was to have the movie play everywhere before the midterm elections.”
Whether this film can affect the polls this election, this is yet to be seen. In all likelihood, Fahrenheit 11/9 does not have much of a chance of changing any hearts and minds. It’s a relic of a time when we thought that movies could actually make a difference.