Dinesh D'Souza wears many hats: Author, apologist, debater, public intellectual, college president. With 2016:Obama's America, the former Reagan staffer and current president of The King's College in New York City adds "documentary filmmaker" to the list. Make that blockbuster documentary filmmaker.
The film, a conservative political documentary which explores Barack Obama's past and speculates about what his second term in office would mean for the United States, has become a surprise breakout at the box office, earning $28 million so far. That total makes it the highest grossing conservative documentary of all time, the second most successful political documentary of all time (behind Michael Moore's 2004 film, Fahrenheit 9/11), and No. 6 on the list of all documentaries. Industry insiders suggest that the film, made for $2.5 million, will likely end its run with a box office total of more than $35 million, easily making it 2012's highest grossing nonfiction film.
The film premiered on one screen in Houston on July 13, and has since expanded to 2,017 theaters, due to better-than-expected per theater averages and high audience demand. Ticket demand was so high in Newport Beach, Calif. that the film was moved into the 1,000-seat "Big Newport" theater, which boasts the largest screen on the West Coast.
What's behind the film's success? Who are the audiences flocking to see it? Political scientists and industry analysts (not to mention the Obama and Romney campaign teams) are doubtless scrambling to figure these questions out. In my view, the film's appeal, and its likely strong word of mouth ...