“Unplanned,” the story of a Planned Parenthood employee who has a life-changing experience while witnessing an abortion, scored $6.1 million at the box office despite only showing at select theaters nationwide.
The success also came after the movie was given an “R” rating despite relatively tame content.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, tracking had suggested the film, from faith-based distributor Pure Flix, would only earn around $3 million.
“Graced with a coveted A+ CinemaScore, the controversial anti-abortion drama ‘Unplanned’ opened to a strong $6.1 million from 1,059 theaters at the U.S. box office despite a relatively modest footprint,” the outlet stated.
In theaters everywhere March 29. #Unplanned is the true story of one woman’s journey of transformation. Abby Johnson was one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation.Until the day she saw something that changed everything. https://t.co/FQ4aXWBgEh pic.twitter.com/iEClpfBLLP
— UnplannedMovie (@UnplannedMovie) February 1, 2019
“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.”
Theaters in New York City and Los Angeles typically fill the list of a film’s top-grossing theaters but in the case of “Unplanned,” the top theater was an AMC in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Other cinemas where the movie performed well were located in St. Louis, Detroit, Kansas City, and Nashville.
“We are thrilled, gratified and humbled,” co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman said 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.”
“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,” added 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.”
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 31, 2019
The strong box office showing came after commercials for “Unplanned” were rejected by Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, among others. The Reporter said that Lifetime told marketers that the commercial couldn’t be aired due to “sensitive nature,” although the network previously promoted an interview with Scarlett Johansson in which she pitched Planned Parenthood.
It also came as the movie met with difficulty on Twitter, with a number of users reporting that they had followed the movie’s account but that the social media service automatically caused them to unfollow it.
Complaints flooded in over the weekend after, according to a video published by the movie’s account, Twitter reset the film’s follower count with no explanation.
Tagging Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey, actress Patricia Heaton wrote: “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.”
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
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell shared a video showing him following the movie’s account. Seconds later, his account automatically unfollowed it.
“What is going on @jack? This is outrageous,” he added.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 1, 2019
President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., shared Grenell’s video with his own comment: “Yet another example of the Social Media Masters only letting people see what they want them to see and believe. The censorship and the bias must stop!!!”
Yet another example of the Social Media Masters only letting people see what they want them to see and believe.
The censorship and the bias must stop!!! https://t.co/QESRltiMJZ
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 1, 2019
As of Monday morning, the account was up to over 220,000 followers.