A movie about Charles Darwin will be released in select theaters in the U.S. this weekend, nearly four months after its worldwide debut.
Creation stars Paul Bettany―of A Knight’s Tale and A Beautiful Mind fame―as the British naturalist during the time he developed his theory of evolution and wrote On the Origin of Species. Bettany’s real-life wife, Jennifer Connelly, stars as Darwin’s wife Emma, whose religious convictions contradicted his work. It’s a movie billed as showing the human side of a man whose ideas would become one of the greatest scientific and religious controversies of the modern era.
Makers of the movie complained that Creation had a difficult time finding a U.S. distributor due to the divisive topic of evolution. Producer Jeremy Thomas told The Telegraph before its European premiere in 2009, “People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the U.S. has picked it up.”1
“It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There’s still a great belief that [God] made the world in six days. It’s quite difficult for we [sic] in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules,”1 he said.
It may have been the “best film” for whomever Thomas spoke with, but the box office earnings tell a different story. According to Box Office Mojo, the estimated budget for the film was ₤10 million (approximately $16,283,951).2 It opened on September 27, 2009, in the UK on 246 screens and barely took in 20 percent of that investment. The filmed grossed just over half a million pounds, or about $820,000.
While the movie had difficulty finding a U.S. distributor, a book about Darwin topped off The New York Times’ list of notable children’s books of 2009.3 Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman focuses on Darwin’s marriage to his first cousin Emma Wedgwood, as well as his growing religious doubts. The book received good reviews, but it doesn’t seem to have made any notable bestseller lists.
Henry M. Morris III, the Institute for Creation Research’s chief executive officer and author of the upcoming Pulling Down Strongholds, sees movies and books like these as a strategy of evolutionists to win the hearts and minds of a public that idolizes popular culture.
“It seems that since the evolutionary theory can’t hold up in the laboratory or the field, and since evolutionists are more reluctant than ever to face creationists in public debates, they are trying something new,” Dr. Morris said. “They’re turning to popular media to perpetuate their false ideas. But that doesn’t change the fact that the science has not, cannot, and will not support those claims, especially as new discoveries are uncovered.”
While many dedicated the year 2009 to the celebration and recognition of Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his On the Origin of Species with scientific unveilings and media pushes, the pomp and circumstance have done little more than expose additional questions and weaknesses in the theory of evolution. The fossils “Ida”4,5, 6 and “Ardi”7, 8 were supposed to help evolutionists prove human evolution. Neither did.9, 10 If evolutionists hoped to recoup their investments in entertainment, that doesn’t seem to have worked either.
For all the fanfare, 2009 seemed to be a disappointing year for evolutionists after all. And Creation promises to have more disappointments in store for them when it hits stateside.
- Singh, A. Charles Darwin film ‘too controversial for religious America.’ Telegraph. Posted on telegraph.co.uk on September 11, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Box office statistics for “Creation” (2009).
- The New York Times Book Review. Notable Children’s Books of 2009. The New York Times, January 20, 2010.
- Dao, C. ‘Missing Link’ Ida Is Just Media Hype. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 2, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Thomas, B. and F. Sherwin. Ida: Separating the Science from the Media Campaign. ICR News. Posted on icr.org May 22, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Thomas, B. 2009. The Ida Fossil: A Clever Campaign for a Lackluster “Link.” Acts & Facts. 38(7): 17.
- Thomas, B. Did Humans Evolve from ‘Ardi?’ ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 6, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Thomas, B. The Artistry of ‘Ardi.’ ICR News. Posted on icr.org October 15, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Thomas, B. Ida Missed Her Link to Humans. ICR News. Posted on icr.org September 15, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
- Thomas, B. Scientists Back Off of Ardi Claims. ICR News. Posted on icr.org December 4, 2009, accessed January 20, 2009.
Image credit: Recorded Picture Company
* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on January 22, 2010.