Creationism > George Clooney?

Box Office Mojo's weekend numbers are registering Ben Stein's creationist documentary Expelled above George Clooney's screwball comedy Leatherheads (3.1 million vs. 3.0 million), despite Expelled showing on 37 percent as many screens. Granted, it's Expelled's opening week versus Leatherhead's third, but it still seems like an eye-popper. It looks Stein is headed for territory previously inhabited only by Mr. Michael Moore, though there's some skepticism about how big of a success it should be measured. (hat tip: Chris Mooney)

UPDATE: The peanut gallery over at Mooney's blog posed the question about whether the geographic distribution of Expelled showings might offer something of interest.

I didn't have the time to do anything too sophisticated (no geocoding to lat/long or ZIP code level analysis), but I did have time to pull the latest listings from Expelled's theater locator and run the following charts over at Many Eyes. (FWIW, I only found 1050 theaters in the Expelled search, but Box Office Mojo says it showed on 1052).

This first one is a map that totals up the number of showings by state.

And then a scatterplot that rates the number of showings in each state against its population. They're 2006 resident population numbers I pulled from Census.

You can see where the line would probably show up if you ran the numbers on the scatter. What I immediately look for are any states well above or below the pack. It looks like New York has a pretty low number of showings per capita, as do a number of other "blue" states, but so does Pennsylvania, home to the recent Dover controversy over Intelligent Design. On the other end, it looks like North Carolina and Georgia were pretty highly saturated, relatively.

See anything?

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