Friday, April 25, 2008

Expelled the Movie: Growing Box Office Success

The numbers from Wednesday are especially encouraging. Expelled was the only film to go up from Tuesday to Wednesday. If you compare Wednesday to Monday, it did dramatically better than most of the top films above it. The Forbidden Kingdom dropped 27.4% from Monday to Wednesday; Expelled dropped only 1.8%. I am guessing that this reflects the benefit of word of mouth buzz.

It has stayed #4 in per screen average among the top films. On Wednesday it came very close to moving into #3.

One thing to keep in mind: this is a documentary. It is a film that makes you think (although it is also surprisingly dramatic, entertaining and engrossing). This means that it is not a typical "Saturday night" kind of a film. I think that is another reason why it is relatively strong during the week, and weaker last Saturday night. I expect the same this weekend.

It is also losing only 11 theatres this weekend. I think that losing those theaters is actually a good thing. It struck me that it opened in more theaters than made sense in certain geographical areas where it was not expected to be popular, to say the least.

Expelled the Movie: A Review and So Much More

There have been plenty of reviews of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This one was especially entertaining to read, because it included comments from three generations of movie viewers, including kids. For example:
Both my boys really enjoyed the film, and my oldest nudged me during the movie a few times asking questions and making comments. Once he leaned over and said that it was much better than he thought it was going to be, and another time he started giggling hysterically. I asked him what the heck was so funny because it was during a segment when Eugenie was standing in front of a map of the US that was covered with different colored thumb tacks pinpointing where they needed to put out “Creationist” fires. He said he was laughing because “that is the woman in that rapping youtube video, isn’t it? I just can‘t take anything she says seriously after seeing that.” LOL...

I learned not to take Eugenie very seriously long before that video.

Expelled the Movie: Latest Press Release

You can read the whole thing here.

Among other things, it says this about the performance at the box office:

EXPELLED has been embraced by fans and stunned its detractors by opening as one the nation's Top 10 films last weekend. It has received more than 2,000,000 visitors to its website and was #2 on's "hottest tickets" chart on Opening Day, April 18. Out for less than one week, it opened as one of the most commercially successful releases for any documentary film and already become one of the top 25 documentaries of all time.

WHO: EXPELLED Executive Producers Logan Craft and Walt Ruloff are available for interviews by the media.

CONTACT: Media contact: Diane Shader Smith Rogers& Cowan 310-386-6803

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yoko Ono Sues "Expelled" Filmmakers About Use of "Imagine"

This just in:
John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and his sons are suing the filmmakers of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" for using the song "Imagine" in the documentary without permission.

One key question is whether the use is "fair use."

You may want to consider the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, and specifically page 4.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Expelled the Movie: Insight Into Plausibility Structures

One of the most delightful aspects of the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is the window it gives us into the minds of certain scientists and philosophers of science. Ben Stein asks excellent questions and we get to see how these scientists answer the questions and, more importantly, how they reason their way to the answers. The most memorable and talked about is this one:
BEN STEIN: What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics or in evolution?

RICHARD DAWKINS: Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it's possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.

He has explained elsewhere that he was bending over backwards to come up with a hypothetical possibility of design and that he does not really believe this. However, that explanation is undermined by his statement that it is "an intriguing possiblity."

Regardless, Dawkins does not seem to understand that what is most significant in this statement is that he views seeding by an extraterrestrial designer to be a possibility, while seeding by a supernatural designer is impossible and unthinkable.

The film is full of great exchanges. Ben Stein is a smart guy with a lot of smart questions. Observing the logical reasoning of some of the people he interviewed is priceless. It is worth ten times the price of admission.

Go see it today.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Expelled Box Office 43% Above Expectations

The full weekend estimates for Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed are in, and these numbers indicate that it will end up doing 43% better than expectations. Before the weekend, I found 3 estimates which averaged $2.2 million. The indications are that it will end up at $3.153 million, which is 43% above estimates and a huge opening for a documentary.

Several important observations: while it ended up 9th overall, it ended up #5 in per screen average, and #3 in per screen average on Sunday. This is a very key number, because it means it was successful for theater owners, and they are likely to keep it around longer.

Another very interesting number is the change from Saturday to Sunday. Most movies in the top ten lost 30-45%. This film lost only 3%. Does this indicate growing momentum through word of mouth buzz, or simply groups going during daytime showings? Or both? Could the actual numbers for Sunday be even better? It will be interesting to see how it does on Monday.