Robert Greenwald’s anti-Fox News Channel doc has shot to the top of Amazon.com‘s DVD bestseller list since going on sale last week, beating out pre-orders for “The Passion of the Christ” and the widescreen edition of “Star Wars Trilogy.”
Tonight, “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” will be screened on Capitol Hill by a small cadre of liberal lawmakers who have drafted a letter to Murdoch demanding that Fox News stop being a “proxy for the Republican Party’s communications office.”
Thus far, Amazon has ordered more than 6,200 copies of Greenwald’s film from Gotham-based Disinformation Com’s Ryko Distribution, which picked up the DVD release last week. That’s in addition to the 25,000 copies of “Outfoxed” sold on the Internet and 3,000 copies ordered by AEC One Stop Group.
While those numbers pale in comparison to the business a major film might do when released on DVD, they represent a solid showing for a documentary, industry experts say.
Amazon groups together current and upcoming DVDs on its list, which can change on an hourly basis. On Tuesday, “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” was winning out over such current releases as “Cold Mountain,” “The Simpsons — The Complete Fourth Season” and “Starsky & Hutch.”
“Oufoxed,” which cost $300,000 to make, sells for $9.95.
So far, Greenwald hasn’t lined up a theatrical deal for “Outfoxed,” which portrays Fox News as a slanted and right-leaning news org. Helping promote the movie is liberal activist MoveOn.org, which took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on Tuesday headlined “The Communists had Pravda. Republicans Have Fox.”
On Monday, MoveOn filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission stating that Fox News engages in deceptive advertising when using the slogan “Fair and Balanced.”
The aggressive-minded org attempted to give DVD copies of “Outfoxed” to people entering and exiting Fox News headquarters in Gotham on Monday after filing the FTC petition. They were unable to generate much interest but claimed to have given away 100 copies.
And in a rare public statement, FTC chair Timothy J. Muris almost immediately rejected the MoveOn complaint. Muris said there was no way to evaluate the Fox News slogan without evaluating the news net’s programming, which is protected by the First Amendment.
“While this is a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech in this country and we wish them well,” Fox News said in reference to MoveOn’s FTC filing.
Greenwald said the sales figures for “Outfoxed” prove there is indeed interest in the subject of Fox News.
Monday evening, Democratic politico Howard Dean spoke at an L.A. screening of “Outfoxed,” preceded by 3,000 house screening parties across the country Sunday night.
“To me, as a person who loves film, this really is an affirmation of the power of movies in the best sense,” said Greenwald, pointing to the film’s unusual distribution avenue.
“Outfoxed” first went on sale on Amazon July 13. It rose to the top of the DVD category by the end of the week, then dropped off. Following the house parties, it shot up again to No. 1, where it remained Tuesday.
Disinformation prexy Gary Baddedley said demand also surged after the house screenings, with Amazon ordering 2,800 copies alone on Monday. Amazon places orders on a daily basis.
A popular theatrical pic might sell as many as 6 or 7 million copies during the first week it is released on DVD.
Baddedley said “Outfoxed” is now being shipped to retailers, including Tower Records, Virgin Records and Borders Books.
Tonight’s screening on Capitol Hill is being hosted by Rep. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-N.J.).