Dinesh D'Souza's Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party earns $25,000 per screen
Days before the start of the Democratic National Convention, a documentary slamming the party and its soon-to-be presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is doing strong business.
Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party opened in third place among documentaries at the box office over the weekend, taking in $74,814, according to audience measurement firm Rentrak.
Conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza directed the movie, which played on only three screens. Its per screen average of $24,938 was far and away the highest of any nonfiction film in theaters.
Nearly two hours of poisonous bluster...
Despite its box office success, the film has not been received enthusiastically by most critics.
Writing for RogerEbert.com, Peter Sobczynski called the film "cinematically inept." He added, “Hillary’s America may well be the single dumbest documentary that I have ever seen in my life—nearly two hours of poisonous bluster and anti-historical rhetoric that comes across like the desperate ravings of someone trying to make a few more bucks by rehashing the same nonsense before his gravy train finally leaves town."
Owen Gleiberman writing in Variety proved no more admiring: "It sometimes seems as if Hillary’s America is all an elaborate joke, and that D’Souza doesn’t actually believe the outlandish attack-job theories he’s peddling."
The film has attracted a mere 14-percent approval rating on rottentomatoes.com. However, it has earned some praise from conservative outlets, including the National Review. NR Online's John Fund wrote, "Hillary's America takes a two-by-four to the racist, greedy, and callous episodes in the Democratic party’s past."
Fund added, "Hillary’s America won’t change long-settled opinions about Hillary, but it will probably raise doubts in the minds of independent voters who see it."
Lest Hillary Clinton supporters panic at that thought, consider this: D'Souza's 2012 documentary 2016: Obama's America, which excoriated Pres. Obama, failed to prevent his re-election.
D'Souza, by the way, pleaded guilty in 2014 to making illegal political campaign violations; he accuses the Obama Administration of cooking up the charges in retaliation for his anti-Obama film.
Elsewhere at the doc box office, it was another number one finish for A Beautiful Planet, the IMAX space documentary narrated by Jennifer Lawrence. The film produced in conjunction with NASA has now made a total of $3,736,119 in 12 weeks of release, per Rentrak.
Morgan Neville's documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble came in second among documentaries, pushing its six-week total to $759,830.
Fourth place went to Tickled, a documentary by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve that investigates the mystery surrounding a "competitive tickling" subculture. After five weeks in theaters the film has earned just shy of $400,000.
In fifth place came Eat That Question, the documentary about the late musician Frank Zappa. Thorsten Schütte's film has now made a total of $168,805.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.