In an excerpt from Byron York's book The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy
he explains why if you smelled a big, fat, dirty rat during the campaign there was nothing wrong with your nose
Overall, Fahrenheit 9/11 did extremely well in North America’s top eight markets, according to the numbers compiled by Nielsen EDI. The film actually underperformed slightly in the largest market, Los Angeles, down just under 4 percent from the market’s normal DMA share. (That was probably due to the presence of conservative Orange County, which makes up a significant part of the Los Angeles DMA.) But it overperformed in the next seven largest markets. In New York it overperformed by nearly 43 percent; Fahrenheit 9/11 took in 11.12 percent of its total box office in that city alone. It did even better in San Francisco, overperforming by 73 percent, and did above-normal business in Chicago, Toronto (by 79 percent), Philadelphia, Boston (by 49 percent), and Washington DC (by 62 percent).
Fahrenheit 9/11 also did well in Seattle, Montreal, Ottawa, Portland, Oregon, Monterey, California, and Burlington, Vermont. In all, two things stand out from those numbers. One is that the picture overperformed only in blue states, and even then only in the most urban parts of those blue states. And the second is that it did very well in Canada. Fahrenheit 9/11 consistently overperformed in Canadian cities; without that boffo business, the film’s gross would have been significantly smaller than it was.
That’s the upside of the story. The downside revealed by the Nielsen EDI numbers is that Fahrenheit 9/11, far from being the runaway nationwide hit that Moore claimed, underperformed in dozens of markets throughout red states and, most important as far as the presidential election was concerned swing states. Dallas/Fort Worth, the ninth-largest movie market, accounts for 2.07 percent of North American box office but made up just 1.21 percent of Fahrenheit 9/11 box office, for an underperformance of nearly 42 percent. In Phoenix, the tenth-largest market, Fahrenheit 9/11 underperformed by 29 percent. In Houston, ranked twelfth for movies, it underperformed by 38 percent. In Orlando, it underperformed by 38 percent; Tampa-St. Petersburg, by 41 percent; Salt Lake City, by 61 percent.