The pro-life movie, Unplanned, received an unexpected surprise over the weekend, coming in at number four in the box office and taking in $6.4 million – twice its projected receipts – in the face of concerted pro-abortion efforts to deter moviegoers from seeing the film.
“[D]espite a near-total media blackout and being slapped with an R rating – not to mention an attempted Twitter sabotage – the film came in [fourth] (after latest numbers) overall [at the box office],” TheBlaze revealed. “Major networks like USA, the Hallmark Channel and a slew of others refused the independent film's ads.” (Official movie website)
Not taking a break from its anti-Trump coverage, the mainstream media proactively avoided covering the film, opposing the president’s pro-life agenda, which includes defunding Planned Parenthood.
“Not only did the film not merit attention from mainstream press, even the barring of its advertisements at the behest of the powerful pro-abortion movement didn't crack into the mainstream press consciousness,” TheBlaze’s Caleb Howe pointed out.
Unplanned didn’t see its biggest receipts in the America’s most populous cities along the coasts, but it pulled in major audiences in the nation’s interior, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Although it is typical for a film to see the biggest revenue in New York City and Los Angeles, Unplanned's top locations were predictably elsewhere,” Howe informed. “THR reports the top theater was the AMC Northpark 15 in Dallas-Fort Worth, and among the rest of the top 20 were theaters in places like St. Louis, Nashville.”
Against all odds, the pro-life movie distributed by Pure Flix will be viewed on 600 more screens following its stellar opening week, and even though Unplanned was expected to gain minimal viewing in Utah, the exact opposite happened.
“One of the biggest audiences – again in defiance of expectation – was in Utah, where Glenn Beck has been in person promoting the film and making people aware not only of its premier, but the tide of pro-abortion resistance rising against it,” Howe recounted. “The film's 'R' rating posed a big problem in the state as the Mormon population isn't given to attending R-rated fare.”
When moviegoers were alerted to the abortion agenda’s machinations, they jammed their local theaters.
“But despite that obstacle, and thanks in great part to the awareness Glenn Beck raised for the film's premier, audiences in the state flocked to the film,” Howe added. “Ticket sales were averaging $3,000 per screen in the Salt Lake metro area. That's twice the national average of $1,500 per screen in the other markets where Unplanned debuted.”
The abortion vs. pro-life debate continues to remain heated from coast to coast, and the growing pro-life movement was evidently reflected in the movie’s popularity.
“These top receipts are another quantifiable example of the great divides in our society, and the resistance to the film by the ‘mainstream’ culture is an illustration of what values those lines are drawn” Howe contended. “The film earned an A+ from CinemaScore, and at the time of this posting has a Rotten Tomatoes audience score of 93 percent.”
According to Box Office Mojo, only three films – Dumbo at no. 1 ($45.9 million), Us at no. 2 ($33.2 million), and no. 3 Captain Marvel ($20.7 million) – beat out Unplanned last weekend in the box office total.
Despite the many obstacles, Unplanned closely rivaled Pure Flix’s other top hits.
“This was twice the expected ticket sales, and makes Unplanned the third biggest opening weekend film by Pure Flix – behind 2014's God's Not Dead ($9.2 million) and 2016’s God’s Not Dead 2 ($7.6 million),” The Christian Post (CP) recounted. “Deadline Hollywood labeled the success of the pro-life film ‘remarkable,’ since the movie was rated R and was not able to run ads on most of the major cable networks.”
After hearing Unplanned’s numbers over its debut weekend, Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott was more than pleased.
“[Pure Flix is] very happy for the success of this film,” Scott declared, according to The Wrap. “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 bring to audiences.”
He is confident that the movie’s message will provide new insight for pro-life and pro-choice advocates, alike.
“We hope that those on both sides of the debate will see Unplanned and begin to have their own dialogue,” Scott added. “This film can be that spark to bring more hearts and minds to understanding the value of life.”
Lights, camera, action …
Some big names appeared in Pure Flix’s latest box office success.
“The movie stars Ashley Bratcher (90 Minutes in Heaven, War Room), Brooks Ryan (Overexposed) and veteran film and TV actress Robia Scott,” CBN News reported. “[T]he film depicts Johnson's emotional decision to quit her job after watching an abortion via ultrasound.”
The film portrays Abby Johnson’s true-life story of when she was an abortion clinic director for Planned Parenthood in Texas before she converted to a pro-life activist.
"It's a little surreal – if I'm honest – to watch someone play out the worst version of yourself in a film," Johnson told CBN News. "But it's also just a good reminder that God can literally use anything from our past and use it for His glory and use it for His kingdom."