Even before its April 18 release in the U.S., Ben Stein's movie, EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed has triggered heated reactions from both sides of the debate between religion and secular origins science.
Atheists are "crashing" EXPELLED screenings and conference calls; critics are slamming it; and leaders are raving about it. One organization is urging theaters to reject the film, while another is holding a movie marathon for all 15 EXPELLED showings at their theater.
And EXPELLED screenings for legislators in Florida and Missouri are causing political firestorms and driving "Academic Freedom" bills that challenge Darwinism.
The controversy has made EXPELLED one of the most talked about movies of 2008:
- The EXPELLED controversy was rated #1 blog on the Internet (3/24/08)
- EXPELLED rated #6 on Yahoo's "Top Searches" (4/8/08)
- EXPELLED made the front cover of the New York Times (10/27/07)
- Nearly 2 million visitors have come to the EXPELLED Movie SIte recently
"The reaction to EXPELLED is threatening to ignite a new cold war between religion and science – and the implications are enormous," says executive producer Logan Craft. "The atheists are going ballistic over our little movie. I want to remind them: It's just a movie. Relax!"
Early pre-screenings of the film have been met with both rave reviews and harsh criticisms. Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called it "powerful" and "fabulous" while critic Roger Friedman called it "sloppy" and "not just a little boring". The Orlando Sentinel's Roger Moore said "it's not particularly funny," while MovieGuide called it "wry, funny, and well crafted." And in the blogosphere where EXPELLED is creating the most buzz, bloggers like Bryan Swaggerty are calling Ben Stein "an idiot," while others like John Villareal are praising Stein as "a genius."
"It's amazing to see the totally opposite reactions to EXPELLED," said Logan Craft. "At most of our pre-screenings, audiences are giving standing ovations. But others are calling it pathetic. We think it has more to do with one's worldview, than with the film itself."
According to one prominent U.S. movie theater chain, people are even sending emails to boycott EXPELLED. An email which the theater chain forwarded to the producers of EXPELLED read, "I urge the management of this theater company to consider rejecting the highly controversial film 'EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed'… [as it] undermines science in our nation's schools."
"This is the first time since Passion of the Christ that we've become really engaged," said pastor Jerry Johnston of First Family Church in Kansas City, who is hosting multiple screenings of EXPELLED. "We think the debate about the origin of life isn't settled yet, despite what's being taught in our public schools. This is more than a movie, it's a cause," said Johnston, who will explore the topic in a four-week sermon series in conjunction with the release of EXPELLED. Similarly, the Association of Christian Schools International has urged its thousands of member schools to use EXPELLED as a springboard for discussion.
"Many of our atheist friends are deeply angered by our film and we can't figure out why," noted producer Walt Ruloff. "This is America and we should all be ready for a little debate. My hope is that instead of trying to shut down the movie, they'll join the debate. Let the conversation begin."
EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed opens on over 1,000 screens in the U.S. this Friday, April 18. For more information visit www.EXPELLEDthemovie.com and www.GetEXPELLED.com.
Writer: Motive Entertainment