Michael Moore’s latest documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9, is winning rave reviews but is tanking at the box office, Forbes is reporting.
Styled as a sort-of sequel to Moore’s groundbreaking 2004 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which explores the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and, specifically, the George W. Bush administration and the Iraq War, Fahrenheit 11/9 opened on under 1,000 screens nationwide (generally typical for documentaries). All told, the movie brought in $1.051 million on Friday, and Forbes writer Scott Mendelson expects it to close out the weekend with around $3 million in ticket sales. That works out to a per-screen average of under $2,000 – nothing short of dismal.
To be fair, says Mendelson, documentaries aren’t generally geared for wide release and boffo box office (excluding Disney nature documentaries, that is). Rather, they’re intended mostly for the on-demand and home-viewing market, once their theatrical run has ended.
Basically, says Mendelson, nobody wants to pay theater prices to see a two-hour-plus movie about a wide variety of depressing topics- the “horrors of the day,” as he calls it.
In the Fahrenheit 11/9, Moore takes aim at Trump and his administration, repeating allegations that Trump refused to rent to black people; that he called for the execution of the Central Park Five (a group of minority youths accused of raping a white woman); Trump’s “birtherism” (that is, his repeated claims that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States); and a host of other controversies surrounding the 45th president.
— CinemaScore (@CinemaScore) September 22, 2018
The movie also looks beyond Trump, focusing on some other moments in American history that have made the news since Trump’s election. Those include the water crisis in Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan; the Parkland, Florida school shooting; and the West Virginia teachers’ strike that later expanded to other states.
Moore also takes aim at Democrats in the new documentary, including taking prominent Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to task for “compromising” with the Trump administration. He even turns his narrative back in time to the Clinton administration, which he believes was the beginning of the Democratic Party’s move to the right.
Despite tanking at the box office, Fahrenheit 11/9 is garnering rave reviews – from critics anyway (audiences are split, likely along ideological lines). At Rotten Tomatoes, for example, the film has an average critics’ score of 80 percent.
“Fahrenheit 11/9 finds Michael Moore in fine fighting form, delivering a political call to action that ranks among his most effective works.”
Moore has also said that he fears that the movie may put his life in danger. If that happens, he says, he’ll move to Canada.