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Mar 25 2008

Natural selection to weed out Expelled at box office

The release date for Expelled is said to be April 18. Josh Timonen over at RichardDawkins.net seems to think it’s rolling out wide on 1,000 screens, which I find frankly unbelievable. Independent features, let alone indie documentaries, don’t get that kind of theatrical rollout unless they’re made by guys called Michael Moore. Almost no indie has that kind of a wide release. The simple cost of creating and shipping out 1,000 prints to theaters, and then buying the saturation advertising needed to make such a release strategy pay off, is simply way out of the reach of independent productions. Unless you’ve been picked up by one of the boutique “indie” arms of one of the majors, like Fox Searchlight. Which Expelled hasn’t.

So I suspect that an earlier figure I’ve heard of 100 screens is a lot more likely.

But what’s problematic for the movie at this point is that there is literally no buzz for it at all outside of the science/creationism/Christian/atheist blogosphere. Which, I’ll grant you, is big, but it’s not exactly where Jack and Jill Sixpack go for their entertainment news. So if Expelled really does stick to its April 18 release, it might as well be called Ignored. After all, look at what else is going out wide that weekend.

That’s a pretty serious slate of pre-summer Hollywood heavy hitters. Also, there is no April 18 listing for Expelled on the upcoming release pages at such major movie sites as IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, or Box Office Mojo. Those sites do, however, list one prominent independent documentary release for that date. It’s the new movie by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), which has had serious industry buzz for months.

Seriously, going up against a release slate like that, is it any wonder Expelled‘s producers have been trying to bribe Christian schools to take their students to see it? Without the “church bus bubble,” it’s looking like any theater showing Expelled will be as empty as ID’s scientific credibility.


Addendum: Jim Lippard has been dropping the occasional comment over at Pharyngula and reports that Expelled‘s own site claims they’re rolling out on 490 screens. We’ll see if that pans out. In the meantime, enjoy this entertaining report from New Scientist about a different screening, and the way that sleazebag Mark Mathis handled the Q&A. The producer of a movie complaining that ID supporters are systematically silenced threatening to throw out a challenging questioner? Gosh, fundies never do ironic, stupid things like that, do they?

19 comments

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  1. 1
    Lloyd Macalpine

    Is there any word on if Expelled will be released outside of the US? Once again this film shows that the ID crowd do now understand how science works. I hope they make this into a franchise, with the next focusing on flat earth theory and the difficulty it has in academia!

  2. 2
    PhillyChief

    I had no idea about those last two. Thanks!

  3. 3
    tracieh

    >I hope they make this into a franchise, with the next focusing on flat earth theoryThat would actually make a funny spoof.

  4. 4
    NAL

    It’s showing up on movies.com for a wide April 18 release. Wide being a relative term. This movie has spoof written all over it. Except movie spoofs are done on popular movies. Expelled won’t last a week.

  5. 5
    Martin

    Lloyd: I’m sure you meant “do not understand, of course…and I think your idea of a flat earth movie rocks!NAL: I also noticed how the movies.com listing has a poll question where people can anticipate how good/bad the movie will be. Everybody needs to go over there and rate it “F-vile”!

  6. 6
    Curt Cameron

    At that movies.com listing, I see this movie factoid:”TOP TIDBITFactoidPosted by bensteinisanassFactoid:The scene where Ben Stein fellates the goat uses special effects. It is actually jebus in a goat suit.”

  7. 7
    Lloyd Macalpine

    Martin:Oops yeah bad typo. :)

  8. 8
    Gwenny

    Nice, the poll at movie.com shows that 87% have rated this movie as a F!

  9. 9
    taba

    Of course Atheist are going to have to say something about this. Let the evidence speak.I thought the church always did things to protect their agenda, looks like the machine wanted to create their own agenda, Don’t get mad search for the truth. Next thing the machine is going to say that we do have a creator and he is an alien, talk about B.S. O.K. we’ll let you get up from this knockdown, just to knock you out again. It’s plain and simple, just like Holyfeiled will knock out Tyson every time they met, there is just better substance, it does not take a scientist to figure that out.

  10. 10
    Martin

    Not exactly sure which side you’re on from your post, taba, but if it’s the pro-science side, then you’re right. ID has been knocked out so many times you’d think its proponents would get the message by now. Instead of producing any scientific research or evidence, they’re now reduced to these pathetic propaganda efforts. It’s sad, really, and will ultimately be just another humiliating knockout to them. The history of ID is the story of one failure after another after another.

  11. 11
    taba

    Martin, I view this from a christiian view, and yes i know i am right.of course this is not going to do as well as the de vinci code ,since it does not support the machines(the goverment) agenda,think about it they made people spend thousands in college tuitions just to come back and say oops.how do you think all of intelecuals would feel, stupid maybe, and not that intellecual hmmm.i can see how atheist might be a little shaken. Sorry if you thought i was against ID. I’m not. Even Mr. Dawkins left room for ID on Bill Mahr saying from 1-7 (1 being absolutely a god to 7 no god at all), he said he was a 6 (leaving room for error convieniently). Oh yeah, animals do talk (I.E. Birds Dolphins) and Elephants draw self potraits, check it out on youtube. So to rule out the garden story would bee overlooking amazing stories like a bird takling or a elephant drawing a self potrait.HMMM. Something to think about. Check it for yourself.

  12. 12
    Martin

    Hmm, conspiracy theories, incoherent ravings, and talking animals. Clearly, you’re the sanest person in the room, taba! And you didn’t even need an education to get you there!Have fun chatting with the little birdies. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

  13. 13
    taba

    Sorry no conspiricy here, just facts and I don’t talk to birds, but that does not mean that they do not talk, that is plain ignorance, because you know that birds are capable of talking, or is that B.S. too. Lets be truthfull here, isn’t that what we are looking for, i’m sticking to a 2,000 year old story that hasn’t changed on its position but, academia changes its position all the time convienienly, who’s story seems secure. HMMM. I am not trying to put anyone down just want to play on a level playing feild. So the question is simple. Can animals talk? Yes Or NO. (be truthfull). Also did you see the youtube posting of an elephant drawing a self potrait? It also has footage of talking dogs & cats. All you have to do is google it,so tell me am i really insane or just calling it as i see it.Do not be upset, seek the truth. Your Friend Taba

  14. 14
    Humanist Mama

    Taba asked Can animals talk? Yes or No.No, Taba animals cannot talk. To talk means to have the power of speech. I think you are confusing talking with communication. Animals have ways of communicating, but they do not talk. Training a dog to make noises that sound similar to our speech is far from proof that animals can talk. That is proof that animals can be trained.It is sad that you feel change is bad. If we change our minds because the evidence suggests the answer we had before was incorrect or incomplete, then it is a good thing. On the other hand, sticking to a story that is 2000 years old simply because one is afraid of change is a bad idea. Actually, the beliefs of Christians have changed over the past 2000 years. At one time, Christians supported slavery. Now, most Christians do not. Why? Definitely not because the Bible is against slavery. The Bible condones slavery (don’t even try to say it’s only the OT). Our society changed and we began to realize that slavery was wrong. So, most Christians changed along with society and just decided to ignore those bad parts in their “good” book.

  15. 15
    Martin

    Taba, what you’re seeing when you hear parrots say “Polly wanna cracker” and stuff like that is mimicry. That’s all. Sure, birds can “talk.” Here’s a CD where you’ll also hear one imitating a horse, and another bird mimicking the sound of workmen hammering and sawing wood. It’s mimicry, just like when dogs “sing.” I’m not surprised by an elephant painting a picture, either. Gorillas have done the same thing. The question of whether or not their drawings are actually artistic representations of things, rather than an animal simply slapping paint onto a canvas, is something animal behaviorists find very interesting and continue to study. Why you seem to think any of this lends any support to a concept like intelligent design is a mystery. I think it’s just down to a lack of understanding and knowledge on your part.As for academia changing its mind about things while religion sticks to the same story for 2000 years: well, I’m afraid that means it’s your religion that’s on the shaky ground there, taba. You see, if you’re not willing to change your mind about an old idea when new facts come along to challenge that idea, then you’re simply being foolish. Science changes its ideas all the time…however, it doesn’t change them to be “convenient,” it changes them based on hard evidence. The problem with intelligent design is that it is not an idea supported by hard evidence, or in fact, any evidence at all. And yet it wants to be treated with the same respect as other scientific ideas that do have strong evidence to back them up. The proponents of ID simply cannot get it into their heads that they need to do the work before respect comes their way. So they come with kooky conspiracy theories about an imaginary villain, “Big Science,” who doesn’t want any new ideas challenging its precious beliefs. The irony is, that’s really the description of who they are. Intelligent design was only invented as a concept because religious people didn’t like the way science was challenging age old beliefs about origins.You’re just thinking about this stuff all the wrong way, and you’ve unfortunately been fed some serious lies about science from sources like, well, the people who slapped together Expelled, none of whom have any background in science. You may not think that matters, but it does. When people who don’t know what they’re talking about concerning a certain subject spout off like they have some expertise, and get everything wrong, they tend to look very foolish to those who are knowledgeable. You should reflect upon whether you really want to be one of those people.

  16. 16
    Gwenny

    You are wasting your time, friends, Taba is just a troll. Account created 4/08 just to annoy us. And one too stupid to get spell check set up in his/her browser. LOL

  17. 17
    taba

    Mama, so it is possible to communicate with an animal, right?That then suggests that their could have been some type of communication with animals in the begining, and it is possible that animals can be trained too,right? Why not in the begining? you said they could communicate and be trained,why not then?Christians do support science, they are open too new discoveries that help their case,and of course their will be people who will say that any new dicovery that christians say helps their cause is B.S. This movie suggests that scientist are to keep hush hush on things or else.Seems like they want to change their position but can’t or else lose their livleyhoods, looks like the machine is afraid of change.I thought we were poen to change?Actually, Christians always maintained their belief.Their belief in the ressurection. I think your confusing customs with beliefs.And yes in the bible old and new their is slavery,just because it’s in the bible it doesn’t mean god condoned it didn’t he free the jews from slavery from Egypt? Also slavery in those times was also to pay off debt,and if you owe the man you got to go to work right?Or do you think thier debtors in the 1st century were going to call the credit agencies, or the person that owes file BK? And to say that we have change as a society free from slavery is not true, check out your local sweatshop in downtown were people work for peanuts, to pay their debts right?And they are all not illegal like many may suggest.also many people will come in the name of christ and will do horrible things, that does not mean that they are christians, Jesus clearly warned us about that.One has to recognize that even if one dosen’t like the answer. Another question? Did you go on youtube and see the elephant that drew a self potrait?Check it out.You can also pull up animals that communicate, we agree that they can communicate, right Mama?We can go on and on about the bible and reasons why this or that,but my main question was can an animal talk (communicate)and what is the answer.I think is was yes, Mama remember dogs are not the only form of animal that suggest communication through speech birds speak clearly in the language they are trained you can find it all over the internet or is that all nonsense too? HMMM.The fact that their can be some form of communication is huge, whether one likes it or not, and i just didn’t post this blog to annoy anyone, just replying to the heading that invites me( look at the top of this page)I just have some friendly questions, christians are always being asked this and that, Why can’t I ask questions, without someone calling out names, on the other hand i was warned about this in the good book. Respectfully Taba.

  18. 18
    Martin

    gwenny: What can I say? It’s my natural, humanist altruism that prompts me to help the disadvantaged.taba: Sometimes we just can’t help it if we hear someone say something silly, and call them silly or some other name. It will probably not be possible for you to understand the level of frustration we feel dealing with people who say the kinds of things you say. It’s a testament to the failure of education in our culture. Feel free to ask all the questions you like. But if you state a falsehood, prepare to be corrected, firmly. You’re dealing here with people who know more about these subjects than you.Once again, you must understand that you are being lied to by Expelled. When the movie claims scientists have to be “hush hush” on certain ideas, that is simply a lie that the movie is telling you in lieu of just admitting the truth: that the people who support intelligent design have no scientific backing for their claims.That is just the fact that you will have to face. The movie is deceiving you, and you should be very resentful that it is doing so.Again, I’m not sure why you think animal communication is some kind of big deal, especially one that lends any kind of support to any creationist claims. You seem blissfully oblivious to the fact that there are entire fields of study devoted to the animal kingdom — the main one is called “zoology” — and there are experts in these fields who have actually studied animal communication firsthand, which is not something you have ever done. Indeed, your poor writing, language, and spelling skills indicate what little education you have had was extremely deficient, and like many people, you have unwisely turned to religion, thinking it will make up that lack. That isn’t name calling, it’s just my opinion based on the things you’ve said here.Unfortunately, by favoring religion over education, you have left yourself open to being taken advantage of by dishonest con men and hustlers like the people responsible for Expelled. You deserve better, and the sad thing is you don’t realize it.

  19. 19
    Humanist Mama

    Mama, so it is possible to communicate with an animal, right?There is a big difference between the statement “animals communicate” vs “we can communicate with animals.” Animals that live in groups communicate with each other for the benefit of the group. Domesticated animals rely on their owners for their basic needs. So, they pay attention to us when we offer them a treat or praise. They want the attention so they will do the trick again. That does not mean that I can understand what my dog is thinking or that my dog understands me when I am speaking.and it is possible that animals can be trained too,right? Why not in the begining? you said they could communicate and be trained,why not then?I presume that when you say in the begining you are speaking of the Genesis story. First of all, I do not accept that story as fact. It is a myth like all of the other creation myths. If you claim otherwise, you need some evidence to back that up. Second, you also presume that humans have always had the intelligence that we have today. I do not know the point in time where our intelligence allowed us to train other animals, maybe someone else knows of research in that area. But really, what does that have to do with anything? Christians do support science, they are open too new discoveries that help their caseWhen you say that you are only open to discoveries that help your case, that is not science. Science needs open minds to be done properly. When one is willing to disregard evidence because of a belief, that person is not using the scientific method.Also, a key part science is replication. If one scientist performs an experiment, another scientist should be able to perform the same experiment and get similar results. When this happens, the evidence becomes stronger that the results are true. Peer review is another important aspect of science. Other scientists in the field look over another’s work and see if they find any problems. So, all studies are not equal. A study that is not replicable or peer reviewed is much less reliable than a study that is replicable and has been peer reviewed.ID has not followed these criteria and that is why it is not considered a scientific theory. Guess what…maybe they should spend some money on research, get it peer reviewed, and see if it can be replicated if they want recognition. This is what all other scientists have done. It is telling when a group spends their money on propaganda instead of actual research. I’m afraid this comment is getting too long. So, I will just say that Christian beliefs have changed over the past 2000 years. I’m not saying that change is bad. I am pointing out that Christians often criticize science because it changes, but they do not want to look at their own history to see how Christianity has changed.

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