After making a name for himself with documentaries taking on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza returned to theaters this weekend with “Death of a Nation,” a new film in praise of President Donald Trump. But D’Souza’s fourth film has posted the lowest opening weekend of his career, with $2.3 million from 1,032 screens for a per screen average of $2,248.
Released two months after Trump granted D’Souza a presidential pardon for making illegal campaign contributions in 2014 — a charge for which the filmmaker pled guilty — “Death of a Nation” compares Trump to Abraham Lincoln while attacking the president’s liberal critics.
Comparing box office takes, D’Souza’s 2012 debut film, “2016: Obama’s America,” had a wide opening of $6.5 million from 1,091 screens for a per screen average of $6,000. Despite being panned by critics, it went on to gross $33 million during its theatrical run, outperforming Michael Moore’s “Sicko” even after inflation adjustment. It still sits as one of the top five highest grossing nonfiction releases of all-time.
Four years later, D’Souza released “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” which opened to just under $4 million from 1,217 screens and went on to gross $13 million during its run. Now, “Death of a Nation” will need to leg out with older Trump supporters to have a chance of reaching $10 million.
With 10 reviews logged on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a zero percent score on the Tomatometer, with RogerEbert.com critic Peter Sobczynski calling it “pure garbage from first frame to last…it could well be of service to future historians struggling to make sense of our current madness.”