WE BRING YOU yet another box-office update Expelled, Ben Stein’s anti-evolution “documentary.” Receipts for Monday (April 28th) are now out. The information comes from Daily Box Office . The film grossed a total of $157,191 from 1,041 theaters, which is only $151 for each. We can’t imagine that a theater owner would continue to exhibit such a poorly-grossing film for much longer.
That day’s gross is 62% lower than the immediately-preceding Sunday’s gross, which makes sense. Movie attendance is always higher on weekends. For comparison we can look to the earlier week when the film had its grand opening. The film’s first Monday was 68.8% lower than the Sunday before it.
So how is the film doing, really? This website compares the gross receipts of documentaries, including such gems as Sicko, An Inconvenient Truth, and Bowling for Columbine (ranked #3, 4, and 5). Expelled now ranks number 15. As we’ve mentioned before, most documentaries play at only a handful of theaters — as do several ranked above Expelled — while only Expelled is showing at over 1,000.
Will the film make any money for its producers? That’s difficult to judge from the information currently available. There is some data in The Australian , in which this article appears: Ferris Bueller’s way off as creationist damns Dawkins. Excerpt:
A few years ago, Stein came to the conclusion that the greatest threat to the US were the Darwinists, whom he credited with the same world-shaping omnipresence that previous generations awarded to Jesuits, Jews and Freemasons. The next step was to turn his noisy thesis into a film: he found it relatively easy to raise the $US3.5 million ($3.7 million) budget with the help of think tanks such as the Discovery Institute, which is known for its advocacy of intelligent design.
That’s the first time we’ve seen any cost figures. But we don’t know if that also includes the advertising budget. It probably does, because the film itself seems to be strictly low-end in terms of production costs. If so, and if the theaters keep half the gross (as we understand is common with documentaries) then the film needs to take in $7 million just to break even. So far the film has grossed only $5,455,051.
But things may be worse than that. In a week-old article from Church Central we read “Expelled” deserves grassroots support from the Church. Excerpt:
Considering its production costs were only $3.5 million, it got off to a pretty good start.
This refers specifically to “production costs” so maybe the promotional expenses need to be added to that, which might bring the total costs to something like $5 million (obviously, we’re guessing here). If so, the film would need to gross $10 million to break even. We shall see.