Pro-life film makes double expected income in first weekend

Ashley Bratcher plays Abby Johnson, who quit Planned Parenthood after witnessing an abortion

"This film can be that spark to bring more hearts and minds to understanding the value of life"

Unplanned, the new film based on the book by Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, has made double its projected earnings for its opening weekend.

The biopic’s box office earnings this weekend totalled $6.1 million, smashing the predictions of $2-3 million, and opened at number 5 in the charts. It opened in only 1,059 locations across the US, meaning that its per-screen average income was $5,770 – ahead of Captain Marvel.

Unplanned success

The stronger than expected showing comes despite the film unexpectedly being given the highest possible rating, television networks refusing to run adverts, and Twitter suspending Unplanned’s account.

The twitter account was inexplicably taken down on Saturday. Although it has now been restored, users are still reporting problems with following the account.   

Because of the initial success, Unplanned is set to move into a total of 1,700 theatres next weekend.

Fear of the truth about abortion

Unlike Gosnell, the recent film about notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell, the media hasn’t been able to completely ignore Unplanned. However, the true story of Abby Johnson’s defection from Planned Parenthood after witnessing the abortion of a 13 week old baby has not gone down well with critics, with the Guardian labelling it a “gory mess”, and the Daily Beast calling it “a leaden, self-righteous and wholly rancid affair.”

“We are very happy for the success of this film,” said Michael Scott, CEO of Pure Flix, Unplanned’s distributor. “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.”

Perhaps the bad reviews and other attempts to stop people seeing the film reflect a fear that seeing the truth about abortion really will change hearts and minds – with effects as dramatic as the conversion of Abby Johnson herself.

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