Ben Stein’s “Expelled” — Who Was The Distributor?

It’s been a long time since we’ve had any news to report about Expelled, Ben Stein’s “documentary.” But today we found an interesting article in Variety, which describes itself as “the premier source of entertainment news.” It’s about Rocky Mountain Pictures, the film’s distributor.

Bear in mind that the principal cheerleader for Expelled was the Discovery Institute, purveyors of the “theory” of Intelligent Design, adherence to which is allegedly the reason why brilliant scientists are being “expelled” from academia. Variety has additional information about the movie here, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, where the film is breathlessly described — presumably by the film’s producer — as follows, with bold font supplied by us:

A documentary that follows Ben Stein–well-known television personality, actor and former White House presidential speechwriter–in his journey around the globe where he discovers that scientists, educators and philosophers are being persecuted in a modern day witch hunt because they dare to go against the theory of evolution. These pillars of education are being fired, ridiculed and ostracized for merely challenging Darwin’s theory; proposing that life on this planet could be a part of some intelligent design and not random chance.

In reality, or course, the competing “theory” which is getting all these “pillars of education” in trouble is plain old creationism, scrubbed by primitive search-and-replace techniques to change “miracle” to “design,” and similarly crude cosmetics. For details of an actual case where a creationist text was literally so scrubbed, see: Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al., and search on “Pandas.” You’ll see how the game is played.

Anyway, Expelled was allegedly about how this wondrous new “theory” is getting a raw deal, because the “Darwinists” aren’t playing fair. So what kind of outfit was chosen to be the film’s distributor? Variety gives it away in their title: Rocky Mountain Pictures: Penchant for faith-based fare.

Here are some excerpts, with bold added for emphasis:

The distrib has made its mark with faith-based fare (2006 missionary drama “End of the Spear” took in $11.6 million). The label’s highest-grossing pic this year was Darwinism-dispelling documenary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” Voiced and co-written by Ben Stein, the pic grossed $7.6 million, largely thanks to the comedian’s ability to stir debate on the talkshow circuit.

As we’ve pointed out earlier, Expelled‘s gross receipts were probably less than the cost to produce, advertise, and distribute the film. No matter, it reached its target audience. More from Variety about the distributor’s next film:

Upcoming Billy Graham biopic “Billy: The Early Years” will receive a 300-screen rollout in the South and Southwest.

We’re all for free markets, so we see nothing wrong with making religious films, and certainly nothing wrong with distributing them. But no one should be surprised to learn that Expelled, allegedly a film about science, was distributed by a company that specializes in religious themes.

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2 responses to “Ben Stein’s “Expelled” — Who Was The Distributor?

  1. The Curmudgeon wrote:

    We’re all for free markets, so we see nothing wrong with making religious films, and certainly nothing wrong with distributing them.

    Full accord with you with respect to free markets. But free markets are not free from the ancient injunction of caveat emptor, nor should anyone ‘free’ themselves of their critical capacities when evaluating anyone’s sales pitch.

    This was a lesson from my student days: not so much from the classroom, but from attempting to learn how to cook in a grubby shared kitchen on a very modest budget. Suddenly craving a bowl of chili con carne, I once bought a jar of chili powder that usefully (I thought) had a recipe on the label. In my ignorance, I did not think it odd that the recipe, for 4 servings of the dish, called for something like 6 kilos of this brand’s chili powder. Needless to say, the resulting concoction was utterly inedible, though probably servicable as paint stripper.

    Moral of tale: always consider the source. Or, as the Royal Society has it, Nullius in verba

  2. Some recipes are much better. I knew a couple of sweet babes who insisted that the best chili could only be made topless. I was all for that. 🙂