What a disappointing summer for movies. First Ghostbusters turned out to be just a plain old bust. Then it started to look like Suicide Squad would die a slow, self-inflicted death. Now we have yet another summer box-office failure about fantasy characters in a struggling franchise who are doing stuff nobody cares about.
Here’s the trailer for the gritty, hard-hitting documentary Southside With You, which was released on Friday:
If you didn’t run out to the theater to see whether this movie is as much of a treacly hagiography as it looks, you’re in very good company. Rebecca Morin, Politico:
The film showcasing President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s first date earned more than $3 million at the box office in its first weekend of release.
“Southside With You,” which transports the viewer to a 1989 Chicago outing between Obama and then Michelle Robinson after they meet at a law firm, premiered in 813 theaters this weekend, grossing $3.1 million, according to studio estimates.
“More than $3 million” is what Politico takes away from this news. Well, it’s Politico.
Back here on Earth, the movie came in 13th at the box office. If you want to be charitable and measure it by per-theater average, it shoots all the way up to 10th place. By that metric, it actually beat the latest Jason Statham movie, also in its first weekend. So at least that’s something. The sitting President of the United States edged out the aging action star from England, sort of.
It isn’t as if nobody knew about this flick coming out. It’s been endlessly hyped and widely reviewed, and critics seem to like it. Or at least they know better than to say otherwise.
So why did it bomb?
I have a theory: Most people are sick of Barack and Michelle Obama, and it was a dumb idea to center a theatrical motion picture around the two of them. A Lifetime Original or an Amazon Prime pilot might have flown, but not a movie that people have to leave their homes and buy tickets to see. It’s just not worth the trouble, even if you still like the Obamas in 2016 for some unfathomable reason.
If I sound callous, it’s only because I’m disappointed that we won’t have an Obama Cinematic Universe. I was looking forward to more movies about Obama’s other first dates: Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, etc.
Oh wait. I just realized that Barack and Michelle Obama are black, which means everything I just said is racist. I’m probably one of those alt-right guys Hillary warned you about. Never mind, everybody!
(Hat tip: Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller)