The film by conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza is hottest nonfiction film of 2016
Donald Trump's presidential campaign may be in danger of imploding, but he's got a reliable asset in Dinesh D'Souza.
The conservative commentator, author and filmmaker is finding an apparently eager audience for his unflattering portrait of Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the party she represents. Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party earned almost $2.5 million this past weekend, according to audience measurement firm Rentrak.
Its total after three weeks of release is now $8.7 million, making Hillary's America the most successful documentary of 2016 to date. By comparison, last year's Oscar-winning hit Amy earned about $8.5 million during its entire theatrical run in North America.
D'Souza's film, which has not been well received by critics, goes back to the 19th century to chronicle the crimes of the Democratic Party, from the genocidal policies of the first Democratic President, Andrew Jackson, to the party's support for slavery.
Indeed, it was the Republican party under Lincoln that ended the South's "peculiar institution," although some northern Democrats were also anti-slavery. Southern conservatives naturally loathed Lincoln and his party and remained resolutely in the Democratic fold for about a century after the Civil War. Those legislators were anything but progressive.
As Pres. Nixon's "southern strategy" anticipated, conservative southern Democrats jumped to the Republican party after LBJ outraged them by supporting Civil Rights legislation, including the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Evidently D'Souza is more polemicist than historian, and ignores these salient facts. There is a reason why the greatest swath of red states is in the Deep South.
If D'Souza truly were indignant over racial injustice, he would direct his attacks toward the GOP, which even some Republicans are beginning to admit has become a bastion of white identity politics.
MUSIC OF STRANGERS BECOMES $1 MIL. FILM
Elsewhere at the doc box office, newcomer Gleason -- about former NFL player Steve Gleason and his courageous battle with ALS -- debuted at number three over the weekend, earning $91,583 according to Rentrak.
Morgan Neville's latest documentary, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, crossed the $1 mil. threshold in earnings, coming in at fourth place over the weekend.
Tickled, the surprisingly sinister documentary about the subculture of "competitive endurance tickling," continued its strong run. The documentary by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve crossed the half million dollar mark in total box office returns.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.