With $3.5 million earned in its weekend box office debut, Bill Maher's Borat-inspired mockumentary about religion managed to just edge the opening weekend for Ben Stein's Expelled.

Religulous, which opened in half as many theaters as Expelled, outgrossed Stein's weekend take by roughly $600K. Religulous benefited in part from a massive free media campaign, with Maher appearing on shows ranging from The View and Conan OBrien to NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Still, given major studio backing for the film, the producers are likely to be somewhat disappointed with the returns. Expect the run to expand beyond 500 theaters for next weekend, which will be the make or break test for the mockumentary.