I'm really not that worried about Expelled. Sure, it has resulted in a fair amount of posts here on the blogosphere (and I've done my fair share), but from what I can tell most people have never even heard of the film. Set to come out on April 18th, the film hasn't even shown up on the radar of many movie websites, and from what I've heard about test screenings the film is still undergoing some last minute changes before it slithers onto screens. How many screens? I have no idea, but I wouldn't imagine that it will be that many.
It's expensive to go to the movies these days, the cheapest regular-rate ticket in theaters near me now being $10 (it's higher elsewhere), and when you factor in the over-priced syrup + seltzer and popped corn with liquid heart-clogger on top, going out to the movies can get pretty pricey. Who wants to blow all that hard-earned dough on a "science"* movie starring Ben Stein? This time of year is sort of a dumping ground for mediocre movies, and with Indy IV, The Dark Knight, and other summer blockbusters not kicking in until May, I don't think many people are going to be paying attention when Expelled is released. In fact, Ben may have to face the embarrassment of being beaten by Bratz at the box-office.
*I don't regard the film as containing any valuable scientific content, but that's how it's being marketed.
I expect that Expelled is going to be a hard sell for many theaters, and whatever money it brings in will be primarily do to special screenings arranged for church groups. Other than that, I don't think anyone is going to consider Expelled a date film (and lord help you if you do) nor does it have any particular appeal. Whatever money there is to be made is going to come later from DVD sales via the Disco Institute and other creationist outlets, and I have to wonder why they didn't just do that instead of set themselves up for embarrassment with what will likely be a pitiful big-screen release.
I could be wrong, of course, but I don't think we've got much to fear from Ben Stein. People who are already firmly established in the creationist camp will probably go out and see it, but from what I can tell most other people just aren't paying attention. I'm still going to keep up on what happens as the date of the film's release approaches, but although we're promised "shock & awe" by the creators of the film, I think it's going to go out with a whimper.
[Hat-tip to Stranger Fruit]
I think the film makers truly believe in their hearts that this movie is going to change the minds and hearts of the world, and make everyone realize how evil science is being to these ID proponents.
It's not going to happen, but they think it will, so they've put all the work in on that assumption.
Nobody that I know even knows that this movie exists, except for one of my friends that I informed. If it comes to a theater here, we might attend, but mostly just to laugh and throw donuts.
I agree with Corey. People who will see this movie will already believe in ID, or will see it to give it a poor review (like Dawkins). It's preaching to the choir, and nothing more. And if I weren't a reader of your blog, I'd have never heard anything about this movie, which just goes to show how much people really care about it.
I'm interested to see how mainstream movie critics review the film. Many of them were astute enough to spot the pseudoscience in "What the *Bleep* Do We Know?" I hope they similarly nail "Expelled" to the wall for being grossly factually incorrect. It would be a shame if the makers of "Expelled" can get any mainstream critics to fall for their rhetoric and review the film favorably. Roger Egbert has always seemed pretty knowledgeable about science, so I'm not too worried about him. Roper seems stupid enough to be duped, however. We'll see, I guess.
Is there any tradition in the States for walking out of a bad film and demanding your money back?
Ben Stein will also probably go out with a whimper...and a whine. One of those nasal whines.