The R-rated pic scored the second-best start ever for faith-based distributor Pure Flix; tracking had suggested it would only earn around $3 million.
Graced with a coveted A+ CinemaScore, the controversial anti-abortion dramaUnplanned opened to a strong $6.1 million from 1,059 theaters at the U.S. box office despite a relatively modest footprint.
The R-rated film — landing in fifth place — scored the second-biggest start ever for faith-based distributor Pure Flix behind God’s Not Dead 2 ($7.6 million). The Christian pic did its biggest business in the Midwest and South.
Generally, theaters in New York City and Los Angeles populate the list of a film’s top 20 grossing theaters. In this case, there were none. Instead, the top theater was the AMC Northpark 15 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, followed by cinemas in St. Louis; Detroit; Wichita, Kansas; Temecula in Southern California’s Riverside County; Salt Lake City; Orange County, California; Kansas City; Odessa, Texas; and Nashville.
“We are thrilled, gratified and humbled,” co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said Sunday in a statement. “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.”
Heading into the weekend, tracking suggested a $3 million debut for Unplanned.
The pic tells the true story of Abby Johnson, who defected from Planned Parenthood to become a pro-life activist after witnessing an abortion at 13 weeks. Unplanned was partially financed by My Pillow founder Michael Lindell, who is a born-again Christian and outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.
The film’s producers, who unsuccessfully fought to overturn the pic’s R-rating, note that Unplanneddidn’t have an easy road to the big screen. A number of TV networks declined to play ads for the movie, while the film’s Twitter account was briefly suspended Saturday morning.
On Friday, trailer views hovered at around 250,000. That stat swelled to 1.7 million views by Saturday morning.
“To bring the story of Abby Johnson to audiences and have them show up in such large numbers shows how abortion is so important to bring to audiences,” 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.”
Unplanned is set to move into a total of 1,700 theaters next weekend.
The networks that broadcast nonstop advertising for Viagra, films that advocate promiscuity, and mega-violent movies filled with soft porn have rejected advertisements for Unplanned, the film about a Planned Parenthood clinic director who quit the job and took up the pro-life cause.
The reason we can’t see the ads? Abortion is too sensitive a subject even to broadcast an ad for a film about it.
The film opened Friday on 1,000 screens, but thanks to the hard-left, pro-abortion networks, some Americans didn’t know.
Johnson rose from a mere pro-abortion volunteer to become the youngest clinic director ever for Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country. PP performed 332,757 abortions in the fiscal year that ended in June, or 991 every day of the year as the Family Research Council noted.
Johnson abandoned the taxpayer-subsidized killing factory after the abortionist at her clinic called upon her to assist an abortion. Watching the abortion on ultrasound, Johnson wrote that “the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.”
The experience traumatized Johnson, caused her to terminate her employment at Planned Parenthood and pushed her into the pro-life cause. She eventually became a Catholic.
But major media outlets don’t want Johnson’s story publicized, and so rejected the ad for the film, The Hollywood Reporter disclosed Friday. “Pure Flix, the distributor behind the box office hit God’s Not Dead and other movies aimed a Christians, opens the movie in 1,000 theaters today, but outside of the Fox News Channel, every other mainstream television outlet has declined to air the ad,” the newspaper reported:
Lifetime, for example, told the film’s marketers that they declined to air the commercial due to the “sensitive nature of the film,” the ad buyers tell The Hollywood Reporter. The marketers though, note that the network — which is owned by A&E Networks, a joint venture of Walt Disney and Hearst Communications — previously promoted an interview with Scarlett Johansson where she pitches Planned Parenthood.
The Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV and Food Network, each of which are owned by Discovery, also refused to sell ad time for Unplanned due to the “sensitive nature” of the movie, say those who tried buying air time.
Other networks that refused to advertise the movie include the Hallmark Channel and USA Network, the latter of which is owned by NBCUniversal.
The major networks broadcast megaviolent movies in the middle of the afternoon, and during prime time, sitcoms and dramas that promote homosexual sodomy or advocate promiscuity. Suggestive and even erotic advertisements appear on the screen during major athletic events. And the television giants frequently produce fare that openly attacks and defames Christians.
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, noted that some programs openly promote abortion. “Shrill,” a new series on Hulu, she toldLifeNews, “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 told LifeNews. “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.”
Can’t See An “R” Movie, Can Get an Abortion
When THR contacted the nets to find out why they rejected the ads, “Lifetime declined to comment while the rest did not respond.”
Not that anyone didn’t know. “We were looking to spend money, but they didn’t want to get involved,” Unplanned producer John Sullivan told THR. The nets told another producer that “they didn’t want to get into politics.”
That’s code for “we’re not going to upset Planned Parenthood.”
On the bright side, Fox News and the Christian Broadcast Network accepted ads, as did conservative talk radio, THR reported.
Amusingly, the film pulled an “R” rating, an irony that Judie Brown, president of the American Life League explained to Newsweek:
“Even the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) recognizes abortion as truly horrific. The irony is that a teenager as young as 13 can get an abortion without her parents’ consent, but cannot see a movie about abortion unless she is over 17.”