Amidst harsh reviews from secular movie critics, and dismal predictions of box office failure, Ben Steins Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! defied expectations and became a fan-favorite with reports of standing ovations at theaters across the nation. Opening on less than half the number of screens of any of the other top 10 movies of the weekend, Expelled debuted at #10 and banked $3 million for the weekend April 18-20, according to Boxofficemojo.com.
Based on a per screen average, “Expelled” ranked even better at #5, and brought in approximately $3,000 per screen, topping notables such as Nims Island, 21, Street Kings, and Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who, and dwarfing the other much-anticipated documentary of the weekend, Morgan Spurlocks Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
The Los Angeles Times Josh Friedman wrote that the opening was robust for a documentary, while Entertainment Weeklys Joshua Rich said its gross was very respectable for its genre. Expelled fared better than prerelease tracking had signaled, Friedman of The Times wrote.
Pre-weekend predictions within the movie industry estimated EXPELLED’s box office take at $1.5 to $2 million, but by opening day Friday afternoon, “Expelled” had moved up to #2 on Fandango.coms hottest tickets chart, and LATimes.com business section was reporting Expelled could exceed box-office forecasts.
“Expelled” also earned a spot on Fandango.coms Top 10 fan buzz, and exit polls conducted by independent research firm Market Data Corporation show that 96% of those who saw the film will recommend it to others. Logan Craft, Executive Producer and Chairman of Premise Media, commented:
The box office results and fan reviews say it all. We were told by the critics that our movie would be dead on arrival. But the public proved the experts wrong again.
Ben Stein, the films star, said,
This is an amazing success story. It has beaten even our own expectations.
If it maintains its current box office trend, Expelled will become one of the top 10 box-office performing documentaries of all time. The Christian Post reports:
It opened as the widest and one of the most commercially successful releases for any documentary film.