Controversial pundit Dinesh D’Souza’s latest documentary received a lackluster response from moviegoers.
“Death of a Nation” made $2.3 million when it opened on 1,032 screens, averaging a tepid $2,248 per theater. The documentary, which explores fascism and white supremacy and compares President Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln, is the lowest wide release launch to date for the right-wing conservative filmmaker. It’s the first political documentary to bow nationwide since Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” debuted 10 years ago.
While a start over a million dollars is impressive for any documentary given the low price tag, it’s not exactly promising for a film that debuted in over 1,000 locations. D’Souza’s previous titles all bowed in limited release before expanding.
His last movie, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” generated $3.6 million during its wide release in 2016. It went on to make $13 million. Prior to that, 2014’s “America: Imagine the World Without Her” picked up $2.6 million when it opened nationwide before ending its theatrical run with $14.4 million. D’Souza’s first documentary was “2016: Obama’s America,” which bowed with $6.5 million and topped out with a strong $33 million.
In his review of “Death of a Nation,”Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman says, “Dinesh D’Souza goes over the top — of hate, and of truth — in his latest documentary, a radical-right screed that equates liberalism with Nazism.” He adds, “Dinesh D’Souza is no longer preaching to the choir; he’s preaching to the mentally unsound.”
Though the doc currently holds a 0% on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, it has generated some positive sentiment among conservatives. “This film is a great reminder about what the left really stands for and why conservatives must never stop fighting for freedom and liberty,” Stephanie Hamill, a journalist with right-wing publication the Daily Caller, wrote on Twitter.
It also garnered praise from the Trumps, including Donald Trump Jr., who co-hosted a screening of the documentary in Washington D.C. He also tweeted about the film, saying, “It’s going to fire up Republicans for the midterms.”
Earlier this year, Trump pardoned D’Souza, who pled guilty in 2014 to a felony campaign finance violation.