Box Office Battlefield

A short history of election-timed popcorn polemics.

By Eric Spitznagel


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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