Fahrenheit 9/11 Box Office Reaches Top Ten FIVE of All Movies Ever; in spite of R-rating that many suggest was politically motivated and inappropriate, and storm trooper goons at the gates, with people being turned away from sold-out theaters, the movie was not only the number one documentary, but, but one major statistic, broke into the top ten listing of ALL movies.
By Rob Kall, editor, OpEdNews.com
Who could have imagined?
Not only is Fahrenheit 9/;11 the number one documentary, ever, but based on projected ticket sales for it's first weekend, the movie was the either top 5th or sixth movie ever, in terms of average gross per theater. Boxofficemojo.com predicted weekend sales of $21,800,000 for 868 theaters, averaging $25,115 per theater.
Since it was only shown in 868 theaters, it was highly unlikely that it could reach the total sales of the top fiction-based movies that were released, in their first weekend, in 3600+ to 4100+ theaters.
The top opening movie of all time was Spiderman, with $114,844,116, opening in 3,615 theaters with an average gross per theater of $31,768
Titanic, the world's all-time top grossing film, had an opening Weekend gross of $28,638,131, opening in 2,674 theaters with an average gross per theater of $10,709 average)
The only movie that grossed in the same $20 to $25 million opedning week range, that came close to Fahrenheit 9/11, was Return of the Jeddi (1983,) with $22,973, the rest in that dollar category ranging from $6800 to $15,000.
According to Brandon Gray, writing for Box Officemojo.com, "Fahrenheit is actually the biggest opening ever for a movie playing at less than 1,000 theaters, topping Rocky III's $12.4 million at 939 venues."
Here's a link at boxofficemojo.com to Opening Weekend Box office Stats for Top-Selling Movies of All Time
There were a number of factors that worked against Fahrenheit 9/11 from becoming the number one all-time top box office average movie.
An unusually high security presence-- armed or uniformed guards or local police, with handcuffs showing-- have been highly visible, one might even say intimidatingly visible, at some of the movie venues. Many reported sell-out shows, where many people were turned away.
Perhaps one of the biggest factors was that it was assigned an R-rating that many suggest was politically motivated and inappropriate. People under 17, one of the largest demographic groups of movie-goers, were not allowed in the theater without a parent or guardian.
There are a number of lessons to be learned here.
First, it's clear that progressive, liberal themes can sell big, be profitable and draw strong audiences. It probably also shows that right wing agenda movies will also do well. The Passion of the Christ might fit into that category.
This shows that a non-fiction documentary, if brilliantly scripted, directed and post-produced, can also succeed and compete against mainstream films.
If progressive and liberal movies can be so profitable, it is likely that progressive television programming and progressive talk radio should be equally viable as profitable enterprises.
After the success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ, and Michael Moore's movie, it is clear that the most powerful way to make a movie a best-seller is to use controversy to get media attention. Will this affect not only how movies are marketed, but also the kinds of movies that are made? Most likely, the answer is yes.
The future of goose-stepping storm-troopers is privatization. When the American Gestapo emerges, if the Bush administration is not sent packing this October, then we can expect to see thugs and brutes wearing uniforms. Remember, there are more privately paid mercenaries in Iraq than there are British troops. Privatization is one of the by-words of the far right. The boot that steps on the neck of the patriot fighting to protect democracy, in the dark, secret, fear-filled Bush America of the future will be on a private payroll, so its owner won't be held accountable to military or even police rules. (Think of prison guards.)
I've added Michael Moore to my list of heroes, with Mandela, Biko, and Jefferson. In the last week, and the weeks to come he has been and will continue to be attacked and reviled, his character assassinated, his past butchered with lies, half truths and distortions. Whether you are a member of the anti-bush "choir," or a true independent, remember that the extreme right has been and will continue to use the mainstream media to blast out their attack on Moore and his movie using right wing surrogates on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, of course, FOX...
Michael Moore hopes his movie will have an affect upon the presidential elections. It very well may move enough undecideds to the Kerry side of the ballot. This is adding a new factor in the election process. In 2000, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris began a new process that the Supreme court finished-- appointment instead of election of the president. The right wing told the Democrats who were outraged and unforgiving about this theft of the presidency with the phrase, "Get over it." Perhaps that's a good way to respond to the right wingers who aren't happy with Michael Moore's movie and the series of movies that will follow. You see, the creative community tends to be made up of progressives, and the movie business is primarily driven by money. That means that even if the Carlyle group, which just bought the Loews theater chain, in partnership with a right-wing run investment group,
tries to prevent movies from being shown, money will out. Other theaters, that are publicly held, with a responsibility to make profits, will have to carry the next film Moore makes.
Monday evening, moveon.org has organized over 1400 house parties to discuss the movie and what to do next. Info on where they are being held is here. Michael Moore has opened Pandora 's box. Now that the idea of political activism documentaries has been let out of the box, and all the other delightful ideas he 's let free, it will be interesting to see what happens next. One thing 's sure. This is good for democracy and good for the nation.
a note added on June 30: First weekend numbers were under-estimated. The actual numbers were $23,920,637 for an average of $27,558 per theater. That puts Fahrenheit 9/11 as among the top five movies, of any kind, ever made, in terms of top gross per theater in the first weekend-- and the top movie that ran in under 1000 theaters.
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is publisher of progressive news and opinion website www.opednews.com and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story This article is copyright Rob Kall and originally published by opednews.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog or web media so long as this credit paragraph is attached. Over 100 other articles by Rob Kall