On the July 5 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host and former U.S. Representative Joe Scarborough (R-FL) cited an article from right-wing website WorldNetDaily.com, which reported author/documentarian Michael Moore's comments that his recently released movie Fahrenheit 9/11 had outperformed actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, as evidence that Moore was perhaps "caught" in "yet another lie" by asserting that Fahrenheit 9/11 "outsold" The Passion. Scarborough was caught in a lie himself, however, by apparently failing to read the entire article before commenting on it.
The WorldNetDaily article that Scarborough cited -- which attacked Moore for saying that "Jesus had something to do with" his film's success -- shows that Moore's comments about Fahrenheit outperforming The Passion related specifically to "comparing the initial attendance stats for the two films and accentuating the one or two measures by which, says Moore, 'Fahrenheit' edged out 'Passion.'" Moore's comments appear to refer to the fact that, according to online box office tracking firm Box Office Mojo, "Fahrenheit's $27,558 per theater average ranked as the second-highest all time for a wide release (adjusting for ticket price inflation knocks it down to No. 11) and the best of 2004, ahead of The Passion's $27,554."
From a July 5 Scarborough Country discussion with frequent guest Jennifer Giroux, founder and director of See the Passion.com:
SCARBOROUGH (ON-SCREEN TEXT: "'Jesus had something to do with that.' Source: WorldNetDaily.com"): Now, I want to compare some box office numbers and maybe you [Giroux] can help me decipher this. The Passion made almost $84 million its first week. And while Fahrenheit 9/11 only made $22 million, to date, The Passion has totaled $370 million domestically. So far, Fahrenheit 9/11 has made $60 million. I'm sure you heard this quote. Michael Moore claims that Fahrenheit 9/11 outsold The Passion. Is this yet another lie that Michael Moore has been caught in?
The $22 million and $84 million figures that Scarborough cited approximate the numbers for the "opening weekends" of the respective films, not the "first week." While his estimate for The Passion is accurate to the nearest million (the exact figure is $83,848,082), he shortchanged Fahrenheit 9/11 by nearly $2 million (the exact figure is $23,920,637).The Passion made $153,003,285 in its first full week, while Fahrenheit 9/11 made $44,353,000 in its first week (ending July 2) of full release (including $158,322 from a two-day limited release in 2 theaters).