Who's Watching the Palin Documentary?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 25 2011 8:11 AM

Who's Watching the Palin Documentary?

Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

You remember that, don't you? The big Palin documentary? It's still in theaters. It expanded to 14 of them total, according to the tracking at Box Office Mojo. And it collapsed. The film made 63.2% less money than it did on its opening weekend, coming out to only $1,714 per screen. That's low for a documentary; it's comparable to how Bridesmaids is doing per screen in its 11th week. So far, the movie's made slightly more than $100,000, comparable to the little-seen 2006 Al Franken documentary, God Spoke. According to the filmmakers, this actually isn't so bad.

"We are very happy," director Steve Bannon tells me. "New markets were good, old markets were soft. We haven't put a penny of marketing money in back of the film yet; it's all social media and earned media. With the VOD/PPV rollout we start to get real marketing dollars in back of us."


Last week, the film's promoters had been giving updated on excited, sold-out screenings. Less of that this week. We learned instead of the next distribution plans -- 250,000 DVDs being sent to stores on October 4, and Video on Demand starting September 1. Producer Glenn Bracken Evans explains:

This title is absolutely perfect for Video-on-Demand and Pay-Per-View backed by a traditional and significant marketing campaign. We are incredibly excited about having this film made available to the entire country earlier than expected. A traditional windowed release would not have allowed us to maximize viewership of this highly sought after film.

Realistically, though, how "highly sought after" can the movie be if roughly 10,000 people have actually sought it out and seen it? Before the movie rolled out, at one stage of the hysterical media speculation about it -- including a premiere in Iowa that brought out Palin and inspired a Newsweek cover story/interview -- we could speculate about a Going Rogue-style phenomenon, with conservatives flocking to the theaters that were showing this. It hasn't happened.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.