Just like with polls released by political candidates or advocacy groups, these figures are to be interpreted with caution. But of interest from the article is that Premise is looking at the theater run as at least a six week experiment, with this past weekend being a big test. (The film earned another $1.4 million.) Also, given the selective nature of the audience, the film is apparently generating a very strong word-of-mouth which could go a long way in mobilizing more of the born-again market segment.
Premise Media hired Chicago-based Market Data Corp. to conduct extensive exit polls to see who is coming to see Expelled and what they think of it. Last weekend, 1,100 moviegoers were interviewed as they left theaters in six states. Mr. Craft is encouraged by the findings. The audiences were almost equally split between men and women. That means that it's not a chick flick or a Rambo and that couples are coming, he says.
Eighty-five percent were between the ages of 24 and 64, and 24 percent were 45 to 54. Asked if they were born-again Christians, 80 percent said yes. Although 22 percent of the moviegoers were Baptists, there was a rainbow of other religions represented. (Oddly enough, of 1,100 respondents in six states, there wasn't a single Episcopalian.)
"Our best-performing theater was in Saratoga, Calif., a high-end suburb of San Jose. Who'da thunk it?" Mr. Craft says. "Our highest-producing theaters were all high-end and west of the Mississippi. That was really a surprise." Some poorer-performing markets included Port Arthur, Texas, and Biloxi, Miss.
Mr. Craft draws a circle around one statistic: 96 percent said they'd recommend Expelled. "This is huge. That's off the charts." If Expelled does turn a profit, Mr. Craft and his partners would like to create an investment fund to finance a variety of media projects, including other documentaries with a point of view. "But we'll have to wait and see what happens in the next six weeks," he says.