Yoko Ono Lawsuit Expelled!: Judge Rules in Favor of Expelled Producers; Film To Be Re-Released In Theaters This Summer

Share Article

Judge Rules in Favor of Expelled Producers; Film To Be Re-Released In Theaters This Summer.

The producers of the controversial film, Expelled, are celebrating their first legal victory in the lawsuit brought against them by Yoko Ono, for including John Lennon's song Imagine in their documentary. Last month, a federal court in Manhattan denied Ono's request for an injunction against the film that would have forced it out of theaters nationwide. The producers are celebrating this victory by announcing that the film will be re-released theatrically this summer across the United States.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary exploring one of the nation's most contentious and longest running battles, the argument over where and how life began, starring author/actor/economist Ben Stein debuted at #10 at the box office but saw its theatrical run marred by the Ono lawsuit.

"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 dollars 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."

Shortly after the film's release, Ono filed a suit against the film's producers, Premise Media seeking damages for alleged copyright infringement because the song had not been licensed for use in the film. On May 19, 2008 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. In his decision Stein wrote, "the doctrine provides that the fair use of copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and commentary is not an infringement of copyright."

"I'm not related to Judge Stein in any way," noted Expelled's star 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."

The court ruling prevents Ono from interfering with the national re-release of the film this summer and the company has come up with an ambitious plan to make the film available to any group which would like to bring the film to a local theater. 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.

For more information or to schedule a screening please contact: Premise Media at (678) 546-5580 or email: Tripp @ premisemedia.com

For media inquiries or to schedule an interview please contact: laurakobbs @ gmail.com.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Tripp Thornton
Visit website