Movies

Box Office Battlefield


Box Office Battlefield

Photographs by Getty Images

A short history of election-timed popcorn polemics.

The Truth About Taxes (1940)
Target: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Contention: Taxes are bad. Response: Made by opponent Wendell Willkie, the film was ignored by voters and FDR, who later gave Willkie a diplomatic post.

Choice (1964)
Target: President Lyndon Johnson
Contention: LBJ was like an out-of-control Cadillac speeding on a dirt road.
Response: It aired only once and was even denounced by his challenger, Senator Barry Goldwater.

Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal (2004)
Target: Senator John Kerry
Contention: His activism resulted in torture of POWs­.
Response: Sinclair Broadcast Group lost advertisers, but the network’s CEO said the publicity was “probably worth tens of millions.”

Bush’s Brain (2004)
Target: President George W. Bush
Contention: Karl Rove single-handedly got Bush elected and is just an overall bad dude.
Response: Domestic gross was an underwhelming $177,525.

Hillary: The Movie (2008)
Target: Senator Hillary Clinton
Contention: She is deceitful, ruthless, and cunning.
Response: A legal battle over whether the filmmakers ignored campaign finance law provided publicity for the video-on-demand release.


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