Amid personal threats to theater employees and their families and after originally being blocked in Canada, the pro-life film “Unplanned” had a better than expected opening weekend last week in Canadian theaters.
The movie, which details the pro-life conversion story of former Planned Parenthood manager Abby Johnson, opened in about 50 Canadian movie theaters last weekend, bringing in $352,510 at the 49 theaters that report revenue. These numbers place the movie in the top five Indie film opening weekends for 2019, according to actress Ashley Bratcher, who portrays Johnson in the film.
Based on the numbers I could find for Canada’s opening night release, July 12th: $345,000 was reported in 49 theaters. An astounding $7,041 per screen average. Putting @UnplannedMovie in the top 5 of Indie Film opening weekends in 2019.https://t.co/ly2Ma3dlCm
— Ashley Bratcher (@_AshleyBratcher) July 14, 2019
“It shocked me … That’s a phenomenally strong opening for 49 reported theatres,” B.J. McKelvie, pastor and president of Cinedicom, Unplanned’s Canadian distributor told LifeSiteNews. “The per-average theatre number is the second highest in North America.”
Unplanned was written, directed, and produced by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman and faced an uphill battle in reaching Canadians. The film initially had difficulty finding a distributor and it was uncertain if the film would even play in the country.
“We expected a solid opening, but the No. 2 highest average in all of North America is something we couldn’t have predicted,” Konzelman to LifeSiteNews. “We’ve been saying all along that we knew there was a strong demand for the film in Canada, despite the obstacles placed in our way – including disparaging remarks.”
This is happening, at least in part, thanks to the support received by federal Conservative politicians.
— Katie Telford (@telfordk) July 5, 2019
In addition to threats against theater employees, the film’s acceptance into Canada turned some political heads. Pro-abortion Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford spoke out against the film in a tweet. And federal tourism minister Mélani Joly warned Canadians that the film is “anti-choice propaganda.”
I am joining other women who are speaking out against the anti-choice propaganda movie ‘‘Unplanned’’. I worry when Conservative politicians who seem to come from another time promote it. We should not send Canada back 50 years. via @CTVNews pic.twitter.com/ujtrKzx8Cp
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) July 11, 2019
There were a few small protests at the theaters over the weekend but the seats to the film itself were sold out. Ottawa Cineplex Scotiabank went as far as to post two security guards outside the theater and one inside.
Despite its great opening weekend, Cineplex says it is not planning to continue to show Unplanned beyond the initial 14 locations over one week.
“I was hoping” Cineplex would extend the run “when they saw those strong numbers. And they had a few other bookers in the industry saying, ‘Are they holding it?'” said McKelvie. “It was kind of the talk of the town, and the shock of the town, but that’s the way it is.”
Unplanned was released in the United States on March 29 and grossed more than $18 million. It also earned an A+ CinemaScore rating based on audience reaction, according to LifeSiteNews. It continues to show in Canada this week.
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