We'll come back to The Atlantic but first, to Yahoo's Associated Content:
Just on the face of it, it would seem to have been the biggest risk in marketing history to roll out a documentary about a politician with less than stellar poll numbers on the same night that the last Harry Potter movie was scheduled to be released.
But, by all accounts, "The Undefeated," the Sarah Palin biop, which was placed in limited release in ten screens across the country, did surprisingly well.
According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the theater in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb near the Dallas/Fort Worth area, at least one Friday evening showing actually sold out.
Gateway Pundit reports similar sellout or near sell out crowds seeing "The Undefeated" in Georgia, Orange Country, California, Houston, Orlando, and other markets.
"The Undefeated" was heavily marketed in social media, with regular updates on Twitter and Facebook. The below the radar strategy seems to have paid off, at least for the first night. The question arises, however, has the movie developed enough word of mouth buzz to develop legs, as film marketers call it, so that audiences continue to show up?
Time will bring the telling.
Speaking of telling, this related piece by The Atlantic, filled with typical liberal snarkiness, is pretty telling in and of itself:
Sarah Palin Movie Debuts to Empty Theater in Orange County
When the clock struck 12:01 am today, AMC theaters in select cities were permitted to start showing "The Undefeated," a feature length documentary about Sarah Palin. As it happens, I'm visiting my parents in Orange County, Calif., home to one of just 10 theaters where the film is being rolled out. Watching it didn't interest me so much as going to interview folks who decided to attend. I figured I'd meet some nice people, perhaps run into someone who knows my grandparents, press five or six Palin fans on why they like her, and convey their worldview. It's my experience that the grassroots doesn't fit the caricature of its champions or its detractors.
In the parking lot of The Block, an outdoor mall in the City of Orange, I worried that arriving 45 minutes early was cutting it too close: it took 20 minutes to find parking, and folks were lining up scores deep outside the theater box office. Our airport is named after John Wayne. Ronald Reagan remains a hero to many. Even Richard Nixon's association with this place is treated as a point of pride. When I was growing up here, a local hotel broadcast the Rush Limbaugh program everyday in its restaurant. I should've known there'd be a big turnout, I thought.
As I approached, however, I realized that most people present were dressed in costume. The crowd was either showing ironic solidarity with Christine O'Donnell, the tea party candidate who is not a witch, or else everyone was there to see the Harry Potter movie playing on a majority of the theater's 30 screens. Without any way of telling Palin moviegoers from Potter fans dressed up like muggles, I'd have to pay, go to the assigned theater, and look for interviewees.
I hurried through the teenage hordes, bypassed a concession stand that sold 1,020 calories of soda for $5.25, and entered theater number 30, hoping I'd have ample time before the previews to talk to some people. But inside, the theater was empty. I sat there alone for 20 minutes, at which point an usher stuck his head in the door, gave me a quizzical smile, and said, "How come you're not watching Harry Potter?" Then he left me by myself again, and without any good answer.
The Atlantic chooses to attend a midnight showing of the movie and report breathlessly that behold, no one showed up.
Which piece do you think will get an airing on regular media outlets later today? The former or the latter?
Crossposted at Wizbang.