UPDATE, JULY 19, 4:57 P.M.: Despite the abysmal turnout at The Undefeated's midnight debut in OC, the film's distributor, ARC Entertainment, is declaring the opening weekend numbers a win. A news release called the opening "stronger than expected," earning a per screen average of more than $11,000 at AMC 30 at the Block. Producers plan to roll out the film in more cities soon.   

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf followed up his piece, "Sarah Palin Movie Debuts to Empty Theater in Orange County," recommended on Facebook by more than 50,000 people, with another piece, "How I Became the Subject of a Conspiracy Theory," which chronicles the barrage of praises and attacks he received after the story was published, with some conservatives suggesting that Friedersdorf attended a secret showing.  

[UPDATED: Distributor Claims Opening Numbers Were Strong] Sarah Palin Movie Debuts in OC to an Audience of . . . One Lone Atlantic Reporter

"The fact that so many people imagine I am invested in the movie's failure, or that anyone cares deeply about its box office performance other than the filmmakers themselves, is frankly baffling to me," he writes.

The Undefeated was written and directed by Stephen K. Bannon of Laguna Beach. 

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 15, 12:45 P.M.: Well, it was Harry Potter night, after all.  

While in town visiting his parents, Atlantic editor Conor Friedersdorf decided to work some reporting into his trip by checking out last night's premiere of The Undefeated, aka the Sarah Palin documentary, and interviewing the folks who made their way out to the late-night showing. AMC at The Block in Orange is one of only 10 theaters in the country rolling out the film. He figured there'd be a huge turnout in a county where "even Richard Nixon's association with this place is treated as a point of pride."  

What he came back with was a sad yet hilarious account of being the only one in the theater. (Sort of. A pair of girls entered after failing to score tix for Pottermania, and near the end of the film, a couple wandered in to make out.)     

The Undefeated follows Palin's journey to become a tea party superheroine after John McCain tapped her to be his running mate in 2008.

Does Friedersdorf's piece reveal that the former governor's fan club is shrinking in OC? Perhaps, though more likely, its members probably just don't stay up that late.


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