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Friday, April 25, 2008

Ben Stein's Expelled Has Strong Opening Weekend

by Jennifer Mesko, managing editor

Documentary challenges evolution's dominance in the classroom.

Ben Stein's new documentary, Expelled, which chronicles the censorship of teachers, professors and students who question the theory of Darwinian evolution, performed well at the box office over the weekend.

It's a message that garnered Dr. James Dobson's endorsement and seems to resonate with Americans. The documentary, which opened Friday at 1,000 theaters nationwide, brought in $3.2 million. It finished fifth overall in per-theater earnings, according to Box Office Mojo.

Tom Neven, editorial director for Youth Outreach at Focus on the Family, called it a "very good showing."

"It shows that thousands of Americans decided to ignore the propaganda being put forth by those who would wish to expel Expelled from theaters," he said. "The campaign of half-truths and smear tactics actually caused many to want to see for themselves what the fuss was about, and they came out of theaters seeing that Ben Stein makes a good case — both on the screen and in his response to those who would censor him."

Mark Mathis, executive producer of the movie, said the strong showing should get Hollywood's attention.

"There's a lot of garbage out there in our theaters," he told OneNewsNow. "And when investors stick their necks out and risk their hard-earned money to see a movie like this produced, they're taking a big risk — and they're hoping that people will honor that and go see it."