The controversial film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" will be re-released theatrically this summer across the United States to celebrate the film's legal victory over Yoko Ono, according to the documentary's producers.
In June, Ono lost her Manhattan legal battle to block the use of John Lennon's song "Imagine" in the film, which challenges the theory of evolution. Ono, Lennon's widow, argued that the makers of "Expelled" used parts of the song without her permission.
"Expelled," which stars author/actor/economist Ben Stein and presents a sympathetic view of intelligent design, the theory that the universe is too complex to be explained by evolution alone, debuted at No. 10 at the box office in April, but saw its theatrical run marred by the Ono lawsuit, according to the film's producers.
"We had many individuals and groups who had planned to see the film, but decided not to because the cloud of doubt this lawsuit brought to the film," noted one of the film's producers, John Sullivan.
"We came out of the gate with strong momentum only to have our integrity questioned by this frivolous lawsuit. While we're thrilled with the film's having earned nearly $8 million during its first run; we've heard from enough people and groups who want to see it in their theaters that we've agreed to re-release it this time without an undeserved cloud over its head."
On May 19, the parties agreed to a voluntary temporary restraining order while they awaited Manhattan U.S. District Court Judge Sydney H. Stein's ruling on Ono's motion to enjoin the showing and distribution of the film. The restraining order prevented the producers from making additional copies of the film for distribution.
However, on June 2, Stein denied the injunction and noted that Premise Media was likely to succeed on its fair use defense.
"I'm not related to Judge Stein in any way," noted Ben Stein, "but we are related in this sense: we are both fans of the First Amendment and I am grateful that the legal system set aside this attempt to shut our film up.
"We will not be silenced. In fact it will have the opposite effect: we will re-release it and allow millions of Americans to go to the box office and register their vote against Ms. Ono and her attempt to keep them from watching our film."
Working in conjunction with the film's distributor Rocky Mountain Pictures, "Expelled" will be made available to any group of 250-300 people at a cost of low as $6 per ticket.
"We have 1,000 prints ready to be shipped out to any group that would like to bring the movie to their local theater," noted Premise's EVP-Sales Tripp Thornton.