How badly did Expelled do on opening weekend?
The weekend isn’t over yet, but it is possible to extrapolate based on Friday’s receipts.
Things don’t look too good.
[Insert your own "Expelled from the box office" joke here.]
… Playing in 1,052 theaters, the pic distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures earned $1.2M Friday for what should be a $3.4M weekend. But the per screen average for Friday was a feeble $1,130… showing there wasn’t any pent-up demand for the film despite an aggressive publicity campaign. So much for the conservative argument that people would flock to films not representing the “agenda of liberal Hollywood”…
Nikki Finke, the writer of that piece, compares the movie to Michael Moore‘s documentary, Sicko — it made relatively more money from fewer theaters on its opening weekend. That seems like an unfair comparison, as Moore already had a reputation as a film-maker. Though he was a speechwriter for President Nixon, I doubt most people know anything about Ben Stein‘s political/scientific views.
These may not be fair comparisons either, but they’re first-time documentaries headlined by a well-known or semi-well-known person.
Morgan Spurlock‘s Super Size Me had a $12,601 per-theater opening weekend average from 41 theaters. It made $516,641 that weekend.
Al Gore‘s An Inconvenient Truth had a $70,332 per-theater opening weekend average from 4 theaters. It made $281,330 that weekend.
Michael Moore‘s Roger and Me had a $20,063 per-theater opening weekend average from 4 theaters. It made $80,253 that weekend.
I can just imagine producer Mark Mathis and friends coming up with ways to spin this: “The movie theaters of America are just trying to suppress anti-Evolution voices,” they’ll say.
You can see how Expelled fared in the box office this weekend here.