Documentary Business

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“2000 Mules”: $11+ million payday for a “stolen election” documentary


That’s how Donald Trump’s attorney general William Barr describes the claimed evidence of election fraud presented in the documentary 2000 Mules.

Barr was being deposed for last week’s Congressional hearings on the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The hearings characterize the proponents of these election falsehoods — like the producers of 2000 Mules — as involved in a “con” and a “grift.”

Fundraising off the 2020 “stolen election” claim has cumulatively raised hundreds of millions.

With that timely context, our guest writer Gregory Crofton continues his coverage of the rightwing documentary ecosystem.

He reveals that of the $11+ million grossed to date by 2000 Mules, around 90% is from online sales, and 10% from cinemas.

Their successful online campaign is a reminder that we may draw valuable lessons from other producers’ distribution strategies… even from filmmakers who are denounced in the U.S. Congress for perpetrating a “con.”

by Gregory Crofton

Dinesh D’Souza is back with 2000 Mules, another hit for the conservative filmmaker.

2000 Mules claims to expose widespread, coordinated voter fraud — particularly absentee ballot box stuffing — in the 2020 presidential election.

The film alleges that this successful voting conspiracy carried Joe Biden to victory over Donald Trump.

Watch the Trailer

Faulty Premises

D’Souza relies heavily on video clips and cell phone data provided by the Texas-based election intelligence group True the Vote.

Poynter, a media ethics and fact-checking group determined that the claims in the film are built on faulty premises. 

Unconventional Release via Rumble

D’Souza claims that censorship by digital platforms like Apple and Amazon Prime forced him to adopt less mainstream video platforms to rollout the film.

He chose Rumble, which has a conservative bent, and its affiliate Locals channel, as well as SalemNow.

D’Souza explails his distribution strategy in this video.

2000 Mules premiered May 8th online via Rumble, which notes that 3.5 million viewers have screened the trailer.

On May 18th D’Souza appeared via Rumble on Alex Jones’ “Info Wars”.  Jones said that he had watched 2000 Mules three times and that it was “smoking gun evidence of how they did it.”

By May 14th, D’Souza claimed in a Rumble clip that his film had grossed more than $10 million through online and DVD sales, and this success led to a theatrical release.

Box Office

Since its nationwide theatrical release on May 20th, 2000 Mules has earned $1.5 million at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo.

Cinemark, a chain of theaters founded by Lee Roy Mitchell, a financial backer of former President Trump, screened the film in 169 theaters, with 411 U.S. theaters showing the film overall.


More than 500 “verified audience” members have left positive comments about 2000 Mules on Rotten Tomatoes.

One who identified as “Truth America” wrote: “This movie gives evidence that the 2020 election was totally stolen.”

Christian Toto of The Washington Times writes: “Dinesh D’Souza’s alarming doc demands a fair hearing on the Left, Right.” Read Toto’s full review here.

Trump Approved

Donald Trump is actively promoting the D’Souza’s film. The filmmaker’s website includes an endorsement from the former president.

In 2014 Dinesh D’Souza was convicted of a felony related to campaign finance violations for making illegal contributions.

Trump pardoned him in 2018 saying that he felt D’Souza had been “treated unfairly by our government.”

Gross: $11 million

D’Souza stated on Rumble that 2000 Mules has grossed more than $11 million through online and theatrical sales combined.

That would make it much more successful than his recent Trump Card (2020) which reveals the “socialistic bent” of the Democratic Party.

Trump Card did not have a theatrical release, but its online rental and DVD sales grossed around $1.1 million, according to The Numbers.

Huge Hit for D’Souza

2016: Obama’s America (2012) grossed more than $33 million at the box office, making it the 17th most successful theatrically-released documentary of all time.

D’Souza’s blockbuster explored the Obama family history in an effort to lay out what his second term might be like if he were reelected in 2012.

Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 still holds the No. 1 spot for documentaries, having earned $119 million in theaters. (Source: The Numbers).

More from Gregory Crofton on the Right’s Documentary Ecosystem

Don’t miss our Bernie Blackout case study with producer/director Pat McGee