Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Fails at the Box Office

The news isn’t good for a trio of high-profile fall festival films opening nationwide box office — Michael Moore’s new doc Fahrenheit 11/9, the edgy teen black comedy Assassination Nation and Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself, according to early returns.

The only new movie doing decent business is a more commercial, Hollywood studio offering: Eli Roth’s big-screen adaptation of the beloved kids book, The House With a Clock in Its Walls. The family friendly pic is headed for a weekend haul of $24 million-$25 million from 3,592 theaters after grossing $7.8 million on Friday, easily enough to top the chart.

From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal, the pre-Halloween offering follows a young orphan (Owen Vacarro) who goes to live in his uncle’s spooky house, only to accidentally awaken the town’s dead.

Unless traffic picks up, Fahrenheit 11/9 is headed for an eighth-place finish with only $3 million from 1,719 theaters (pre-release tracking had suggested at least $5 million-$6 million). One bright spot: Audiences gave it an A CinemaScore.

Moore’s satirical, anti-Trump film marks the first release from Tom Ortenberg’s new company, Briarcliff. (Ortenberg worked with Moore on Fahrenheit 9/11 while stationed at Lionsgate.) It earned just north of $1 million on Friday.

In 2004, Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 debuted to a record-breaking $23.9 million from 868 locations. Otherwise, his films, similar to other political or specialized docs, have launched first in select theaters before expanding their footprint in order to capitalize on word of mouth.

This summer, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza also decided to open his latest film nationwide. Death of a Nation debuted to $2.4 million from 1,005 locations before topping out at $5.9 million domestically, the worst showing of D’Souza’s directorial career despite an overall doc boom at the box office, including such summer hits as Won’t You Be My Neighbor? ($22.6 million), RBG ($14 million) and Three Identical Strangers ($12.1 million). The latter three all rolled out slowly.

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter, Pamela McClintock