Para­mount roll­out of ‘Se­quel’ blamed for box-of­fice bomb

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

Al Gore’s “An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel: Truth to Power” drew a luke­warm re­sponse from movie­go­ers, rank­ing 15th at the box of­fice in its first week­end of wide re­lease and earn­ing tepid re­views from au­di­ences.

The se­quel to Mr. Gore’s in­flu­en­tial 2006 cli­mate change doc­u­men­tary, “An In­con­ve­nient Truth,” has earned about $1 mil­lion since its lim­ited re­lease July 28, prompt­ing one critic to say Para­mount Pic­tures “ef­fec­tively sab­o­taged” the roll­out.

“This was not sup­posed to hap­pen,” writer D.R. Tucker said in the Wash­ing­ton Monthly.

In a Mon­day post head­lined “Al Gore Gets Ripped Off Again,” Mr. Tucker said Para­mount botched the na­tion­wide re­lease with its two-week­end plat­form strat­egy in­stead of seiz­ing on anti-Trump

mo­men­tum to whip up en­thu­si­asm with a splashy one-week­end launch.

“Para­mount ap­par­ently couldn’t be both­ered to ag­gres­sively pro­mote ‘An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel’ as the movie Trump and [EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor] Scott Pruitt didn’t want you to see — and giv­ing Amer­i­can au­di­ences a de­cent chance to see it,” Mr. Tucker said. “By fail­ing to do so, the stu­dio ef­fec­tively un­der­cut its own prod­uct.”

Although doc­u­men­taries rarely per­form as well as fea­ture films at the box of­fice, Mr. Tucker pointed out that Michael Moore’s “Fahren­heit 9/11” opened at No. 1 af­ter a “high-pro­file na­tional roll­out” in 2004.

“Sadly, the box-of­fice un­der­per­for­mance of ‘An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel’ will be seized upon by cli­mate change de­niers as ‘proof ’ that Amer­i­cans don’t re­ally care about this is­sue,” Mr. Tucker said.

He’s right. Prom­i­nent cli­mate skep­tic An­thony Watts has dubbed the movie “an in­con­ve­nient bomb,” and the web­site Cli­mate De­pot was rife with posts about the film’s poor per­for­mance.

Mr. Gore raised ex­pec­ta­tions by urg­ing ac­tivists to buy tick­ets and pack the­aters to send a mes­sage to the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“By fill­ing the­aters, we can show Don­ald Trump and the other cli­mate de­niers in the White House that the Amer­i­can peo­ple are com­mit­ted to cli­mate ac­tion –– no mat­ter what they do, say, or tweet!” Mr. Gore said in a tweet Fri­day.

The se­quel still has time to find an au­di­ence. Para­mount plans to in­crease the num­ber of screens next week­end to 500, up from 180 at its Fri­day ini­tial wide re­lease, Dead­line Hol­ly­wood re­ported.

The orig­i­nal col­lected $1.3 mil­lion in its first two week­ends be­fore tak­ing off and earn­ing $24 mil­lion, mak­ing it the 11th-top-gross­ing U.S. doc­u­men­tary in his­tory, ac­cord­ing to Box Of­fice Mojo.

At the same time, movie­go­ers may be vot­ing with their feet. So far, au­di­ences have in­di­cated that the se­quel isn’t on par with the orig­i­nal, which won the 2006 Acad­emy Award for best doc­u­men­tary fea­ture.

The first film drew a healthy 78 per­cent au­di­ence ap­proval rat­ing on Rot­ten Toma­toes, while only 47 per­cent of au­di­ences and 77 per­cent of crit­ics have said they liked “An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel.”

While “An In­con­ve­nient Truth” was cred­ited with put­ting the global warm­ing is­sue on the po­lit­i­cal map, the se­quel has been crit­i­cized as a “van­ity project” and “vic­tory lap” for the former vice pres­i­dent, who has be­come the face of the cli­mate change move­ment for bet­ter or for worse.

Mr. Gore has pro­moted the movie re­lent­lessly with nu­mer­ous tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances and a trip to Aus­tralia, but he also drew ridicule last week af­ter a re­port said his Nashville man­sion con­sumes 21 times more elec­tric­ity than the av­er­age U.S. home.

“Clearly, Gore is un­will­ing to prac­tice what he preaches,” said David A. Ri­de­nour, pres­i­dent of the con­ser­va­tive Na­tional Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search, which con­ducted the study.

The former vice pres­i­dent con­tin­ued to plug the movie over the week­end on so­cial me­dia with help from friends such as ac­tress He­len Hunt, who gave the film a thumbs-up.

“Thanks @He­lenHunt for go­ing to see @aitruth­film and for telling your friends & fans to do the same! #BeIn­con­ve­nient,” Mr. Gore said on Twit­ter.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

IN­CON­VE­NIENCED: Al Gore re­lent­lessly pro­moted “An In­con­ve­nient Se­quel,” but the film ranked 15th at the box of­fice with tepid re­views.

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