“Uncle Tom,” a film about Black conservatives hosted by Larry Elder, has become a surprise hit, topping the industry documentary charts despite little publicity outside the right-of-center media sphere.
The movie-industry site IMDb ranked “Uncle Tom” first in popularity in the documentary sub-category, and sixth among documentary movies and TV shows, after ringing up $400,000 in download sales during its first week of release.
“It’s an impressive showing for a film with microscopic media fanfare and virtually no coverage outside of conservative channels,” said film critic Christian Toto on his Hollywood in Toto website.
Mr. Elder, who co-wrote and co-produced the documentary, billed as “an oral history of the American Black conservative,” marked the success of the provocatively titled film with a celebration dance on his Twitter account.
“‘Uncle Tom,’ per IMDb, is the #1 documentary IN THE WORLD,” tweeted Mr. Elder, a Los Angeles-based radio host. “How about a little love?”
Directed by Justin Malone, the documentary features interviews with prominent figures such as Robert Woodson, Allen West, Carol Swain and Candace Owens, as well as ordinary citizens talking about their experiences as Black conservatives in a society that expects Blacks to toe the liberal line.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden reinforced the political stereotype in a May interview with Charlamagne tha God, declaring, “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”
The Democrat Biden said afterward he regretted the comment.
Released June 19, “Uncle Tom” is available only on demand at SalemNow, and currently only for streaming, given that DVD copies are on backorder “due to extremely high demand,” according to the website.
Mr. Toto noted that the film website Rotten Tomatoes has yet to rank “Uncle Tom” in terms of audience or critical reception. The site only lists two reviews, both positive, from Film Threat and Matt’s Movie Reviews.