Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9” is heading for an okay opening in the $4 million to $10 million range at about 1,500 North American sites when it launches on the Sept. 21-23 weekend, early tracking showed Tuesday.
Universal’s fantasy film “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” directed by Eli Roth with Jack Black and Cate Blanchett starring, looks likely to lead the weekend with early tracking in the $18 million to $25 million range. The launches of Amazon’s comedy-drama “Life Itself” and Neon’s thriller “Assassination Nation” aren’t showing much traction with projections of $4 million each.
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” will premiere Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, then be released nationwide by Tom Ortenberg’s new Briarcliff Releasing a full six weeks before the midterm elections.
It’s opening 14 years after Moore’s stunning success with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which explored the presidency of George W. Bush and the War on Terror. That film received a 20-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere, won the Palme d’Or, and opened in first place with $23.9 million at only 868 North American locations on its way to a $119 million domestic gross (plus another $103 million overseas). It remains the highest-grossing documentary of all time, topping “March of the Penguins” at $77 million.
Moore’s 2007 film “Sicko” grossed $24 million (10th highest-grossing documentary of all time); his 2002 Oscar winner “Bowling for Columbine” took in $21 million (13th highest); and 2009’s “Capitalism: a Love Story” earned $14.4 million (21st highest). His most recent, “Where to Invade Next,” grossed $3.8 million in 2016 in limited release for Alamo Drafthouse.
The trailers for “Fahrenheit 11/9″ describe Trump as “the last president of the United States” and includes footage of Trump rallies, neo-Nazi protests, and spraying contaminated “Flint water” on the front lawn of Republican Michigan governor Rick Snyder. He began shooting the film last year with the “11/9” in the title referring to the day Trump was declared President of the United States on Nov. 9, 2016. Moore correctly predicted that Trump would win the White House by scoring the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
The Toronto Festival’s official opening film is Chris Pine’s “Outlaw King,” which debuts at the Roy Thomson Theatre, while “Fahrenheit 11/9” is opening at the Ryerson Theatre at Ryerson University.
Part of the festival’s official description says, “Moore likes to subvert expectations, so we’ll refrain from disclosing too many details of ‘Fahrenheit 11/9.’ Let’s just say there are aspects that feel very timely in the lead-up to the US Congressional elections. But overall, this is an evergreen film that applies historical lessons from both progressive and repressive movements. It speaks strongly to a younger generation in the hope that they might fix what the previous generation has royally f****d up.”