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Sarah Palin biopic opens in theaters. How's it doing?

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Andrea Melendez/The Des Moines Register/AP

(Read caption) Sarah Palin talks with people outside the Opera House in Pella, Iowa, before the premiere of 'The Undefeated,' her new documentary movie, on June 28.

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That new Sarah Palin move “The Undefeated” opened its theatrical release on Friday. How’s it doing so far?

OK, bringing up dollar figures may not really be fair. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two” is setting the bar kind of high this weekend, as it leviosas approximately a billion galleons into its producers’ pockets.

Also, “The Undefeated” is playing in only 10 theaters nationwide. Distributors put the flick in a small number of mostly conservative test markets, such as Dallas and Orange County, Calif.

The plan is to roll the film out to more cities if it does well. Presumably, it might expand distribution if Ms. Palin decides to actually run for president, as some reviewers have noted that it could serve as a campaign biography.

That could happen soon – the decision as to whether to run, we mean. On Wednesday the ex-Alaska governor told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that the time to fish or cut bait (yes, it’s a cliché, but appropriate in an Alaskan context) on a White House bid is drawing near.

“You know, August and September, you do have to start laying out a plan if you are to be one to throw your hat in the ring. So that – that’s basically the timeframe,” said Palin.

As to how much cash the film is bringing in so far, we don’t know. Over at Politico, Ben Smith quotes a prediction from entertainment box office guru Bruce Nash to the effect that “The Undefeated” will earn $4 million.

That may seem paltry compared to HP’s record opening weekend. But for a conservative film marketed to conservative audiences, it’s pretty good. Political documentaries generally are not huge money makers.

Also, since there is no CGI, or expensive sets, or high-priced stars, we’re betting $4 million is a lot more than it cost to make the thing. So somebody’s going to make a nice profit. For Palin, it would be nice if the movie sparked some fund-raising success – her main political action committee raised $1.6 million in the first half of the year, as opposed to the $18.25 million front-runner Mitt Romney collected in the second quarter alone.

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As to how audiences are reacting to “The Undefeated,” there is this front-line take from an Atlantic reporter who braved hundreds of people dressed in robes and carrying wands to attend a showing at a multiplex in southern California that was also showing The Movie Which Must Not Lose Money. His report? He was the lone attendee.


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