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Films and TV
“”And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don't. How can I be so sure? Because I don't know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.
|—Bill Maher, Religulous|
Religulous is a film featuring Bill Maher and the baby Jesus that takes the piss out of religion. The film explores various religious groups across many locations ranging from the Vatican to Salt Lake City. Maher interviews a wide variety of religionists, including Hasidic Jews, Muslims, Mormons, creationists as well as untraditional popes. In an early section, he asks what is possibly one of the most asked questions from non-religious people: why is faith good? Apart from a slight bit of abuse, he doesn't seem to get a straight answer out of anyone.
Release and box office performance
It was released on 2008 October 3, after a delay caused by the writers' strike. Religulous grossed $3.5 million in its opening weekend on 502 screens, resulting in a $6,972 per screen average (second among major new releases). In contrast, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed managed only a meager $2,824 per screen in its opening weekend. 
Religulous was released on the same weekend as An American Carol, a right-wing screed aimed at documentarian Michael Moore. Although Carol had a slightly better opening week box office take ($3.66 million), it was shown on 1639 screens compared to Religulous's 502 screens. I.e., Carol had only one-third the number of butts in the seats per theater as Religulous. According to boxofficemojo.com, as of 10 October 2008 Religulous had surpassed Carol at the box office -- $5.122 million versus $5.031 million. Because Religulous has made back double its original budget ($2.5 million) at the box office, it is now considered to have turned a profit. (The budget for Carol was $20 million.) In the end, the US box office take for Religulous was $13.01 million, compared to $7.01 million for An American Carol and $7.92 million for Expelled. (The makers of Expelled have never made public the movie's official production budget. Big surprise.)
- Box Office Mojo -- Weekend box office results for October 3-5, 2008
- Box Office Mojo Expelled Intelligence Allowed page
- Box Office Mojo Religulous page
- Box Office Mojo An American Carol page
- See the Wikipedia article on Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The budget for Expelled is now listed as $3.5 million (US). If this is true, Ben and company made a (very small) profit. If this is true.