Michael Moore’s latest film Where to Invade Next tanked at the box office this weekend on its way to becoming the lowest-grossing opening weekend of the liberal filmmaker’s career.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Where to Invade Next will take in an estimated $933,240 from 308 theaters over the three-day holiday weekend for a per-theater average of just $3,030. The film will try to crack the $1 million mark by the close of box office Monday.
That figure is “good” enough to make the film Moore’s lowest opening-weekend grosser since The Big One opened to $146,909 from 33 theaters in 1998.
While Where to Invade Next is expected to give Moore his second-largest opening gross ever, behind 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11, THR notes that per-screen averages are the true measures of the success of his films, as all of his previous work has opened in limited release before moving into wide release (except for Fahrenheit 9/11, which opened to $23.9 million from 868 locations).
By that measure, Where to Invade Next fell off a cliff when compared with the theater averages of his last film, Capitalism: A Love Story, which took in $231,964 from four theaters during its opening weekend, for a per-location average of $57,991, in 2009.
Moore took to Twitter on Sunday to thank those who had seen the film and celebrated its 30 percent jump at the box office over Friday’s numbers:
Another happy day on Saturday at the box office for "Where To Invade Next"! A 30% jump over Friday! Thank u everyone who's going to see it.
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 14, 2016
Where To Invade Next — Moore’s first film in six years — follows the director as he travels to several countries to explore how adopting those countries’ more progressive policies could help America regain its Dream.
Moore undertook something of a guerilla-style marketing campaign in the lead-up to the release of the film by engineering a series of publicity stunts seemingly designed to increase his visibility. The 61-year-old filmmaker penned an open letter critical of Donald Trump and later stood outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan with a sign that read, “We Are All Muslim.”
But Moore’s film was in trouble almost immediately after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. After selling the film to an as-yet-untitled new company from former Radius executives Tom Quinn and Jason Janego and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League, the film’s release date was pushed back from December 23rd to January 15, and then again to February 12, reports THR. Moore’s planned 50-state bus tour to promote the film was cancelled after the filmmaker was hospitalized with pneumonia.
Still, according to Deadline, Where to Invade Next is the highest-grossing documentary so far this year, and Quinn told the outlet that the film’s distributors had not intended for it to perform as well as previous Moore hits.
“We’re releasing the film as an ‘aggressive documentary,’ but not on the [scale] of of a Fahrenheit 9/11 or Sicko,” he told Deadline. “It’s a great Michael Moore movie, it exists quite well in this election climate. It’s a movie that will be relevant all year long and will likely have a longer ancillary life than his last two movies.”