Here’s the update:
Over the weekend, Bill Maher‘s Religulous made $3,519,000 in around 500 theaters for a $6,972 per theater average.
That puts it in 10th place for the weekend box office. (Sadly, it’s behind Kirk Cameron‘s pro-Christianity movie Fireproof (8th place) which was in ~850 theaters.)
However, it did do better than Expelled did on its opening weekend — Expelled made $2,970,848 in just over 1,000 theaters in its first days. In all, it made $7,690,545.
Religulous looks like it will surpass that mark next week.
As far as documentaries go, it is likely to crack the all-time Top Ten List.
PZ Myers points out a few more important distinctions:
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 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?
It just goes to show: If you want your movie to succeed, don’t interview PZ for it
One more note: In 1st place this weekend? Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
If that doesn’t give you an accurate snapshot of our country’s collective intelligence, nothing does.