This new movie, Religulous, is doing reasonably well on its opening weekend, bringing in about $3.5 million. This is comparable to what Expelled brought in (about $3.7 million). There are a few differences, though.
Religulous hasn’t had much of an advertising campaign. Remember all the Expelled commercials everywhere, including The Daily Show? Maher’s movie has only relatively recently been getting plugged. It’s ads are more intelligently targeted, though.
Religulous only opened on 500 screens, compared to Expelled‘s 1000.
Religulous is coming off its opening weekend with great word of mouth and good critical reviews. Expelled attendance plummeted steadily from the first day onward.
One to think about, and maybe this isn’t a difference: Expelled had a built-in base of evangelical Christians to draw on (although many were disgusted by it, too). Does Religulous also draw upon a base of freethinkers? Is there a neglected audience for more godless entertainment? Will advertisers and investors figure this out?
They also have something in common. I’ve seen neither. I don’t think Bill Maher would throw me out of the theater if he spotted me in line, though. Or maybe he would — it was such great PR for Mark Mathis and company, wasn’t it?