The creationist propaganda piece Expelled has been in the pipe for a while now, but it seems to be more and more apparent that the people behind it are scrambling to prevent the film from being a direct-to-video style flop. Originally slated for Darwin Day (February 12), the film has been pushed back to April (I would assume the delay stems from a desire to include more about the Gonzalez tenure-denial kerfuffle), and it looks like the filmmakers are trying to “recruit” as many people as possible to see the film when it opens by throwing money at schools. According to a recent post up at the Austringer (via The Panda’s Thumb and the Antievolution.org forums), the creators of Expelled have set up a contest encouraging fundamentalist schools to set up mandatory field trips to see the film, the more ticket stubs each school sends in the bigger the donation they’ll receive in return. Here’s the breakdown from the Expelled promotional page for the contest;
Your school will be awarded a donation based upon the number of ticket stubs you turn in (see submission instructions in FAQ section). That structure is as follows:
* 0-99 ticket stubs submitted = $5 per ticket stub
* 100-299 ticket stubs submitted = $1,000 donated to your school
* 300-499 ticket stubs submitted = $2,500 donated to your school
* 500 ticket stubs submitted = $5,000 donated to your school
Each school across the nation will be competing for the top honor of submitting the most ticket stubs with that school having their $5,000 donation matched for a total donation of $10,000!
I’ve heard of christian groups sending clips of films to churches for promotional use before, but apparently the creators of Expelled are just trying to bribe people to see their movie and make a fuss about it. As I’ve said before (and others have noted as well), it’s interesting how much this film is being associated with christianity (I thought ID was supposed to be a purely scientific program with no theological connections.Oops.), although I doubt such connections will dissuade most people who already have taken in the ID position. Of further interest is the mention of a promotional group involved with marketing the film called Groundforce Network. From what I can glean from their website, Groundforce Network is a christian media promotions group (they’re also trying to boost publicity for a new book by Bill Cosby, among other things)* that revels in the vague military terminology. Visitors to the website are encouraged to “ground the ground war” by becoming a “field agent” for the group in an appeal to the popular notion of “spiritual warfare” in modern American christianity. What effect any of this will have on the film’s popularity or influence, I don’t know, but while I have the feeling Expelled is going to fizzle out at the box office there’s plenty of work to do to make sure students in America’s public schools get a proper science education.
[For more information on Expelled, check out the Wikipedia entry for the movie.]
*I have no idea what Cosby’s religious views are and I don’t particularly care; I was just surprised to open the promotions page and see a book by Cosby there. I would assume it has some religious underpinnings as the Groundforce Network seems to be focused on christian media, but I’m not interested enough to find out. I only mentioned it as a point of interest.