This month, the popular pro-intelligent design documentary featuring actor Ben Stein will make its DVD debut after having grossed more than $7 million in theaters as the twelfth highest-grossing documentary film in the United States.
The release of "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" on DVD will be accompanied by grass roots outreach by Motive Entertainment, the company that spearheaded the grass roots marketing for Hollywood blockbusters like "The Passion of the Christ," "Polar Express" and "The Chronicles of Narnia."
Promoters of the documentary film believe it will continue to open up and fuel the debate on freedom of speech and freedom of education in the United States.
"Big Science in this area has lost its way," says Ben Stein, the highly recognizable television personality known best for his role in Visine eye drop commercials. "Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-science, it's anti-American."
For "Expelled," Stein interviewed researchers, professors, and academics who claim to have been marginalized, silenced, or threatened with academic expulsion because of their challenges to some or all parts of Darwin's theory of evolution.
Also featured in the documentary are members of the pro-Darwin community including Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, and influential biologist and atheist blogger PZ Myers, both of whom later accused the film of using quotes and segments out of context.
While makers of the documentary say the movie doesn't seek to champion intelligent design as the sole truth, they say it calls for more academic freedom, where challenges to any scientific theory including Darwinism would be fairly considered.
"The incredible thing about 'Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed' is that we don't resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the 'shock effect,' something that has become common in documentary film these days," says "Expelled" co-producer Walt Ruloff, who co-founded Premise Media, which produced the documentary. "People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth."
Regarding claims by Dawkins and Myers that filmmakers were tricked into being interviewed for the film, Ruloff has denied any wrongdoing.
"There is some serious mistreatment and downright reprehensible behavior going on here," said Ruloff, "but I can assure you it's not coming from us."
"We're just the ones exposing it."
Despite the controversy surrounding the film, which piqued as it was preparing for release, "Expelled" had the third highest opening for a documentary, debuting in 1,052 theaters and placing No. 5 in the box office with $2.9 million in sales.
"The film's numbers proved that freedom-loving Americans were outraged to discover that teachers and professors across the nation are teaching a theory as indisputable fact and that scientists who dissent from that theory are being silenced and ousted," the documentary's promoters stated.
The people behind "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" are expecting the documentary's theatrical success to carry over when it make its debut in the DVD market on Oct. 21.