The pro-life movie “Unplanned” finished in the Top 10 after a surprisingly strong 8th place finish at the box office this weekend.
The film, which opened in theaters nationwide last week, follows the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who became pro-life after watching a baby be aborted on an ultrasound screen. Despite a media blackout, a ‘R’ rating designed to discourage viewers and little coverage outside conservative media circles, “Unplanned” opened in 4th place during its first weekend and it expanded to movie theaters this past weekend.
Most movies have a dropoff in ticket sales during the 2nd weekend and “Unplanned” was no exception. But its 49.9% dropoff was less than the 60.4% dropoff for “Dumbo” and the 58.4% dropoff for”Us” – the 1st and 2nd place movies last weekend.
The film earned an estimated $3.2 million after expanding to 1,515 screens. The controversial film about Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director-turned-pro-life advocate, beat industry predictions again with a per screen average of $2,111. Audience support continues to be strong, with word of mouth on social media providing support for the film as well as an unusual A+ rating from CinemaScore.
The movie was featured on fewer screens than any other movie in the top 10 last weekend, making it so it would have brought in more ticket sales had it been shown to a larger audience– and it’s per screen average would have placed it 7th instead of 8th.
Distributor Pure Flix expanded UNPLANNED’s footprint this weekend to an additional 500 screens, becoming the studio’s second-highest box office success after God’s Not Dead 2. It was released nationally on 1,000 screens on March 29.
“This film has been an overwhelming success,” said Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott. “The amazing work of the filmmakers, actors and team behind bringing Abby Johnson’s story to audiences is helping to raise awareness to national and regional pro-life movements around the country. For one film to have such an impact with audiences that are showing up in such large numbers reinforces how important it is to bring this topic to audiences.”
The film made national news last year when lead actress Ashley Bratcher revealed that her mother had scheduled an abortion, changed her mind at the last moment, left the abortion clinic and given birth to her. Controversy has subsequently dogged the film, however, first when it earned an R rating from the MPAA, then when a number of television networks refused to air commercials for the film and on opening weekend when Twitter suspended the film’s page twice only to reverse itself an hour later and in doing so growing the total number of followers from 8,000 to now more than 350,000.
“Every day I am waking up to messages about how people have been impacted by seeing UNPLANNED,” said Abby Johnson. “Some walked in pro-choice and walked out pro-life. Others are finding healing from past abortions. And many are finally seeing for the first time that this is what abortion looks like. I am so encouraged by the success of the film and that people are bringing their friends and family, especially those who are on the fence about abortion. It’s my hope that UNPLANNED will be the catalyst to make abortion unthinkable, not only in this nation, but the entire world.”
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 and stars Bratcher (90 Minutes in Heaven) as Johnson; Brooks Ryan as her husband, Doug; Robia Scott (“CSI,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) as Abby’s superior at Planned Parenthood; Emma Elle Roberts (Hunger Games: Mocking Jay) as Marilisa Carney, Kaiser Johnson (Little Boy, Sleepy Hollow) and Jared Lotz (Of Little Convenience) as Shawn Carney.