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Michael Moore's New Doc Takes on 'Capitalism'

Capitalism: A Love Story
Source: capitalismalovestory.com
Capitalism: A Love Story

As CNBC spends the month examining the economic melt down one year agoand how far we've come, Michael Moore takes the one-year anniversary to release his new documentary, "Capitalism: A Love Story" which skewers the financial system. The documentary doesn't look at the big banks that failed, but at the people who suffered. And yes, the title is ironic: Capitalism is the bad guy.

From a commercial perspective it seems Moore's latest film faces a serious uphill battle.

I think the country is feeling major "recession fatigue." And now as the economy appears to be getting better, I'd guess Americans would want to move on or distract themselves, rather than spend two hours in a movie theater to reflect on just how bad things are. (Aren't theaters about escape?)

Moore says the big banks are entirely responsible for the financial meltdown, and he doesn’t place any of the blame on Americans who took out those adjustable-rate-no-money-down mortgages. That means he disagrees with Obama's comments to Wall Street that the "decisions made by ordinary Americans to open credit cards and take on mortgages," they couldn't afford were part of the problem.

Moore takes particular aim at Goldman Sachs , pointing out the relationships between top treasury execs and Goldman executives. Sure, there's no question that there needs to be more careful regulatory oversight and scrutiny of regulators' relationships with Wall Street. But aren't there plenty of targets that were more reckless than Goldman - banks that didn't survive?

And I can't help but point out that Moore himself is bankrolled by a titan of industry and a true proponent of free-market capitalism: Liberty Media chairman John Malone , , . The film is produced by Malone's Overture Films. Malone is quite the media mogul, nicknamed "Darth Vader" for trying to end the must-carry rules, which protected broadcasters, among other things.

Moore has proven a savvy businessman himself, as his "Fahrenheit 9/11" documentary was the most successful documentary of all time, grossing $119 million in 2004. (It even outperformed Warner Independent's "March of the Penguins"). LionsGate distributed "Fahrenheit", as well as Moore's "Sicko," which brought in $24.5 million in 2007. I bet the studio is breathing a sigh of relief that it's not trying to sell this film that looks back as the country tries to push forward.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.