Despite a media blackout, a ‘R’ rating designed to discourage viewers and little coverage outside conservative media circles, the new movie “Unplanned” opened in 5th place this past weekend and it will expand to even more theaters next weekend.
The film doubled its projection for expected box office earnings – bringing in $6.1 million in its opening weekend despite a projection of $2-3 million. That came despite the fact that Twitter has done its best to censor the movie’s account, suspending it on Saturday and resetting it on Sunday. And major television networks, including Lifetime, Hallmark Channel and HGTV all rejected commercials promoting the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Fox News reportedly was the only major network to agree to run the ads.
The film took in an estimated $6,110,000 or a cumulative per-screen average of $5,770 on only 1,059 locations across the country.
The average would have put the movie in third place, according to Box Office Mojo.
Due to the storage showing, Pure Flix, the film’s distributor, told LifeNews yesterday it will add an additional 600 screens to those already showing the film. That makes it so 1,700 screens will show the “Unplanned” movie, which earned a rare A-plus rating from CinemaScore.
“We are thrilled, gratified and humbled. We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office,” Pure Flix told LifeNews.
“We are very happy for the success of this film,” said Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott. “We hope that those on both sides of the debate will see Unplanned and begin to have their own dialogue. This film can be that spark to bring more hearts and minds to understanding the value of life. To bring the story of Abby Johnson to audiences and have them show up in such large numbers shows how the topic of abortion is so important to our nation.”
Partially financed by MyPillow executive Mike Lindell, the film is the true story of Abby Johnson, a former rising star in the Planned Parenthood corporation. As one of the youngest clinic directors in the nation, Johnson was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women on their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in, until the day she saw an ultrasound guided abortion that changed everything.
The film made national news last year when its lead actress Ashley Bratcher revealed that it wasn’t until she was on set and filming that she learned that when her mother was pregnant with her, she nearly aborted her. Controversy has subsequently dogged the film, first when it earned an R rating from the MPAA, then when several television and radio networks refused to air commercials for the film and most recently on Saturday when Twitter suspended the film’s page only to reverse itself an hour later after fan outcry and media inquiries. Going into the weekend, trailer views for the film had reached 250K. By Saturday morning, after an evening of strong word-of-mouth, trailer views climbed to 1.7 million. The film has a 93% positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“I am blown away by the public response to UNPLANNED as well as the box office numbers,” said Bratcher. “Not only is it beyond my wildest dreams, but it has surpassed the expectations of critics across the country. Despite biased critic reviews written more like op-eds, the audience has spoken. I just learned that Unplanned received a coveted A+ CinemaScore. While that is truly an honor, the most rewarding thing about this weekend’s opening is the flood of messages I’ve received from people experiencing healing and a change of heart.”
UNPLANNED was written and directed by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, the writers/co-producers of God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2, also distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment.
“We are thrilled, gratified and humbled,” noted Solomon and Konzelman. “We are so pleased that the American people have responded with such an enormous outpouring of support at the box office. It humbles us, and we look forward to seeing what happens in the weeks ahead.”
Commercials for “Unplanned” are running on Fox News, The Christian Broadcast Network and conservative talk radio shows, including Glenn Beck’s, according to the report.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, told LifeNews that she was not surprised to hear about the rejections. She pointed to shows that openly promote abortion on television and the internet. The new Hulu series “Shrill” drew outrage earlier this month when the main character bragged about feeling “really, really good” and “powerful” after having an abortion.
“The entertainment industry no longer hides the fact that it lacks basic moral decency,” Foster said. “It’s now overtly dedicated to indoctrinating its viewers with a pro-abortion agenda, hiding from them the pain and emotional toll involved with the destruction of human life.”
Visit UnplannedFilm.com for more details.