The film, a pet project and labor of love for producer Darryl F. Zanuck, was a notorious box-office flop in its day, despite good reviews and several Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor, and despite the fact that when it played the Roxy in New York, it grossed more than any one movie had in a single theatre up to then. Zanuck was so heartbroken over the movie's failure that he forbade anyone who came into his presence to ever mention the film again.
This was, perhaps, the only box office disaster in the history of Hollywood to have received so many Oscar nominations (10), to have won as many Oscars as it did (5), and to have received so much critical acclaim.
Darryl F. Zanuck was so proud of the film that he ordered that the world premiere be held in Wahoo, Nebraska, Zanuck's own home town - presumably so that Zanuck could show off his pet project to the local citizens. The plan backfired; nobody in Wahoo was really interested in Woodrow Wilson, and attendance at the film's showings was extremely poor.