Rosen claimed 2004's top-20-grossing Fahrenheit 9/11 did not "do that well"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Discussing Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, Newsradio 850 KOA's Mike Rosen on September 10 falsely claimed that "[b]y overall movie standards" the documentary "didn't do that well" at the box office. But film-industry statistics show that it was the 16th-highest-grossing movie of 2004, earning more than such commercial releases as The Village and Collateral.

During the September 10 broadcast of his Newsradio 850 KOA show, Mike Rosen baselessly claimed that Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 "[b]y overall movie standards ... didn't do that well." In fact, according to the website of the newspaper Variety, Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $119,114,517 at U.S. box offices in 2004, making it the year's 16th-highest-grossing domestic release.

While discussing Moveon.org's role in promoting Fahrenheit 9/11, Rosen admitted that "by documentary standards Fahrenheit 9/11 did very well at the box office," but then asserted that "[b]y overall movie standards it didn't do that well. It certainly wasn't Return of the Jedi" -- 1983's top-grossing movie.

According to Variety, which gathers data for its website with Nielsen EDI, Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed $119,114,517 at U.S. box offices in 2004, placing it among Variety's top 25 ahead of such commercial releases as the Ben Stiller comedy DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, the Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx thriller Collateral, and the Stiller-Owen Wilson comedy Starsky & Hutch -- all movies that played in more theaters than Fahrenheit's 2,011, according to the website Box Office Mojo.

From the September 10 broadcast of Newsradio 850 KOA's The Mike Rosen Show:

ROSEN: In the summer of 2004, MoveOn teamed with filmmaker Michael Moore to promote Fahrenheit 9/11. The week before the film premiered, [Eli] Pariser asked members -- who follow MoveOn's recommendations closely, following MoveOn online religiously -- Pariser asked the, the loyal MoveOn.org following to sign a pledge to see Fahrenheit 9/11 during its first weekend. This, of course, was designed to boost the ticket sales, the box office sales, to make it seem as if people were flocking to this movie and Michael Moore was representing the American mainstream. Fahrenheit 9/11, Pariser judged, was leading, the leading edge of a wave of anti-Bush anger sweeping the country. This was before the 2004 elections, you'll recall, the result of which was that Bush was re-elected and Republicans regained control of the United States Senate. So much for MoveOn.org representing the true American majority. Pariser said, "We launched this campaign around Fahrenheit 9/11 because to the media, the pundits and the politicians in power, the movie's success will be seen as a cultural referendum on the Bush administration and the Iraq war," Pariser told MoveOn members. "Together," he said, "we have an opportunity to knock this ball out of the park." And by documentary standards Fahrenheit 9/11 did very well at the box office, largely because the left-wing faithful figured they were voting for Democrats by buying a ticket to the movie. By overall movie standards it didn't do that well. It certainly wasn't Return of the Jedi. But it was designed to make a political statement and it did. Of course, it didn't result in Democrat success in the 2004 election.

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