The pro-life film “Unplanned” took in double the estimated ticket sales during its opening weekend and topped Disney’s “Captain Marvel” in per theater sales.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, tracking of ticket sales heading into the movie’s debut weekend suggested “Unplanned” would garner $3 million; however, the Christian-based film ended up earning $6.1 million at the box office, landing it in the top 5.
The movie screened in 1,059 theaters, giving it a per-theater average of $5,770 and putting it slightly ahead of the Disney distributed “Captain Marvel’s” $5,100 tally in 3,985 theaters. The superhero box-office smash was currently in its third week of release, Box Office Mojo reported.
“Unplanned’s” $6.1 million total marks the second-highest debut for the faith-based Pure Flix studio, behind the $7.6 million opening for 2016’s “God’s Not Dead 2.”
The film tells the story of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood clinic turned influential pro-life advocate.
Deadline reported that most cable television networks refused to air ads promoting “Unplanned” due to its subject matter of abortion.
Exceptions were the Fox News Channel and faith-based media outlets such as the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The film was also promoted through faith leaders, including evangelist Franklin Graham, and conservative online outlets such as Blaze TV, Live Action and The Western Journal.
“Unplanned’s” online push experienced a further obstacle when Twitter banned its account for a two-to-three-hours period on Saturday, citing a rules violation from a related account.
Twitter quickly reversed course following a torrent of tweets demanding an explanation for the ban.
“Unplanned” thanked “the people who maliciously and falsely reported UnplannedMovie to @Twitter,” because it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the number of followers skyrocketed from approximately 7,000 before the ban to more than 260,000 as of Monday morning.
— UnplannedMovie (@UnplannedMovie) March 30, 2019
Additionally, actress Patricia Heaton tweeted that she and others were being blocked from following the movie.
Hey @jack – why aren’t you letting me follow @UnplannedMovie ? I’ve tried eight times to support my friend @AbbyJohnson and @Twitter won’t let me. Others are having the same issue. Please correct this. Thank you.
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) April 1, 2019
Despite all the controversy, Pure Flix CEO Michael Scott expressed satisfaction with how “Unplanned” has been received.
“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,” Scott told The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
The film’s star, Ashley Bratcher, who portrays Johnson, tweeted a picture with the pro-life activist, writing “this is what a real superhero looks like.”
— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) April 1, 2019
“Unplanned” will be expanding to 1,700 theaters for its second weekend out.
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