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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Expelled DVD released today, to brisk sales, more hit reviews

The Expelled DVD releases today, distributed by Vivendi. When I checked early this morning (around 3:30 am), it was doing well for a documentary about the intelligent design guys that almost every film pundit knew he had a duty to trash. So far, there are 241 reviews, and the vast majority of the ones I scrolled through are attacks, voted up by hundreds of people. But the film was also #30 in DVDs Amazon. (Note: Today, October 22, at 6:30 am EST it is #14, with 256 reviews.)

Note: A friend writes to say, I just checked and it's listed as #14 in movies and TV. HOWEVER, I looked at the listings page and a number of the top 13 are duplicates, that is, two listings for the same movie depending on format (e.g., Blu-ray or standard DVD), so Expelled is actually #8 in terms of titles. (as of 2:36 pm EST)

Clearly, Darwin's fans feel threatened, and Amazon customers are just letting them rant while they themselves buy the film and move on.

Lesley Burbridge-Bates of Motive Entertainment Partnership/L.A.B. Media, the publicity firm, tells us,

It opened in the Top 10, achieving the #5 position on a per-screen average. It has already made its place in history as the #12 Top Grossing Documentary of all time and the #1 Conservative Documentary. The initial buzz about the film was so intense that it became the #1 most popular blog on the Internet (3/24/08), the #6 Top search on Yahoo (4/8/08), and received over 2 million web hits, more than any other movie’s website during this time.
Part of that was Yoko Ono's doing, to be sure. Her lawsuit over the use of a couple of bars from the late John Lennon's song Imagine resulted in millions of people learning about the film who had never been remotely interested in the intelligent design controversy.

The biggest problem for anyone introducing a new idea is to get that kind of name recognition. The legal trouble was very expensive for the producers, but they couldn't have bought that kind of publicity at any price.

Eventually, Ono dropped the case, but meanwhile, the producers had decided not to use Imagine anyway. The producers were defended by the Stanford Fair Use Project.

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