Even though it was a smash hit and one of America’s top 10 grossing films last weekend – making more than $1.2 million on just 668 screens – the pro-life movie about a notorious abortionist,Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, was dropped by nearly a third of its theaters nationwide this weekend.
“Despite the solid performance for an independent film of this sort, nearly 200 theaters have inexplicably dropped the film – including those in major cities where it was performing the strongest,” The Daily Wire (DW) announced. “Coming into its second week, Gosnell has dropped from 668 theaters to 480 theaters – a full 188 theater drop, 15 of which were top-performing multiplexes.”
American theaters pro-abortion?
Since the film exposing the reality about what really goes on behind closed doors in abortion facilities did better than most of the other movies it competed against in hundreds of theaters, many pro-lifers suspect that the movie houses cut the cinematic success because it might offend moviegoers who advocate abortion.
“There’s no denying that this controversy is stemming from the film’s content,” Townhall reported. “Gosnell executives aren’t surprised by the move – especially after the up-hill battle they’ve faced producing and placing the film.”
The movie’s marketing director and producer, John Sullivan, is certain that the move to axe his pro-life film was intentional and not merely “business as usual” in the film industry.
“I can tell you from my experience in 15 years of releasing movies independently, we’re in uncharted territories,” Sullivan assured DW. “It is an impacted fall – no doubt about it – but the fact that we’ve been dropped from theaters where the movie is the number six or number nine movie is just something you don’t see.”
Some might argue that making way for the Halloween weekend explains Gosnell’s unusual drop from 28 percent of its movie theaters, but after taking a close look at schematics of where it was axed, it still does not make sense.
“While some of the smaller theaters may have dropped Gosnell to make way for Halloween this weekend – a major release projected at number one – the same could not be said for multiplexes housing 20 or more theaters where the film performed in the top 10,” DW’s Paul Bois contended.
Sullivan agreed that only one scenario explains Gosnell’s disappearance from nearly 200 screens in one week – in spite of its great performance in box office receipts.
“It’s hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie,” the pro-life movie producer stressed. “We have theaters that are dropping that are top theaters – that are performing very well. We’ve been the number six in a 15-plex, and it gets dropped this week. We’ve been number nine in a 30-plex, and we’re getting dropped this week. There are about 15 theaters like that where, typically, you would not get dropped.”
He discounted rationale attributing Gosnell’s drop to one seasonal movie – especially with his film’s successful showing its inaugural week.
“I do recognize it’s a crowded marketplace – Halloween is going to be a huge opening,” Sullivan conceded. “But it’s very odd to me that you’re within the top 10, and you’re getting dropped out of a movie house.”
Sullivan’s skepticism about the reasoning behind Gosnell‘s early departure was backed by statistics coming out of 15 high-performing theaters – each being a major theater chain – that dropped the abortion-exposing film, and DW provided a handful of examples:
- AMC Kips Bay #6 out of 15 screens
- AMC Burbank #9 out of 30 screens
- Temecula Stadium #9 out of 15 screens
- AMC Alderwood #9 out of 16 screens
- AMC Methuen 20 #9 out of 20 screens
More roadblocks for pro-life film
Besides theaters nationwide dropping the abortion-exposing film, obstacles for ticket sales were seen at ticket booths at a theater new you.
“[T]he filmmakers have received varying reports of theaters actively preventing customers from buying a ticket by not advertising the film or declaring it ‘sold out’ before capacity is reached,” Bois pointed out. “While some of those situations may be the result of human error, Sullivan says the apparent blackballing is too consistent to go ignored.”
The film’s marketing director says he has seen too much in the movie industry to believe that the harsh opposition Gosnell is receiving is just by chance – as if it has nothing to do with the ultra-left pro-abortion agenda pushing it out.
“This has come at an unprecedented level for us,” Sullivan impressed. “I’ve released a number of independent films – including the number two political documentary of all time. We faced problems there, but I’m getting reports of stuff too consistently for it not to be taken as something more than just a 16- or 17-year-old not doing their job at the local theater level.”
Excuses, excuses …
The pro-life advocate made another case and point about the opposition his movie has faced.
“One report out of Nashville had people being told the movie sold out simply because they didn’t have the staff to cover the theater, and they chose our theater to do that to … Why?” he posed. “Too many things have stacked up, and it just doesn’t smell right.”
Sullivan is no stranger to adversity, as he also directed the top-grossing documentary film, 2016: Obama’s America, which received much political opposition, but theater chains would not drop the controversial film because it was too profitable in the box office.
Phelim McAleer, the producer of Gosnell, also expressed major concern about the harsh resistance to his film.
“[I received] worrying reports from across the country [about moviegoers’ inability to purchase tickets],” McAleer declared in a public statement on Facebook. “People are saying that they are going to the box office and being told that the film isn’t being shown when it is. We are being told that people are also not able to buy tickets online. Some theaters are trying to cut this down – trying to exclude people from going to see it.”
His contentions were corroborated by numerous moviegoers who took to social media to share their stories about being railroaded when trying to see the controversial film.
“My wife and I bought tickets online beforehand at an AMC theater, only to have them canceled and refunded,” a Facebook moviegoer posted on Facebook, according to DC. “My wife called and asked why, but the person she talked [to] only would say that the theater decided not to show it. So, we drove an extra 20 minutes to see it at a Cinemark theater where it was showing.”
Attempts were also evidently made to obscure the movie amongst other box office offerings.
“I bought tickets from the kiosk in the theatre lobby,” another Facebook user shared. “When the photos were displayed in the kiosk screen, every movie had the photo of the movie – except Gosnell.”
Other reported experiences denote that pro-abortion advocates in theaters intentionally hid or got rid of movie displays to keep moviegoers from watching the film and make it look as if the movie was not being shown in the movie house.
“My cineplex did not have any movie posters up for it – no signs over the hallway to the correct theater,” one theater patron noted on Facebook. “I had to ask them where to go.”
The weeks ahead …
Starring Dean Cain as the detective who sniffed out the notorious abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, and Nick Searcy as the doctor’s attorney, the film made half of its money in production costs back after just its opening weekend.
“Gosnell opened to $1.2 million in its first weekend, and it was only produced for $2.4 million – which was raised through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo,” Lifezette reported. “In the days following its opening weekend, Gosnell has continued to perform and remain in the top 10 films at the domestic box office – and it only played in 600-plus theaters, while many other films in the top 10 are enjoying a temporary home in thousands of multiplexes.
Before going into its second weekend, Gosnell already made $1.8 million in a major victory for both conservatives and independent artists, and it remains to be seen if the drop from nearly 200 theaters will significantly lower ticket sales, but the remaining 480 theaters still showing itcould still pack in the seats.
Ann McElhinney – co-producer of the film with her husband, McAleer – shared some key takeaways from Gosnell’s rocky experience at the box office.
“This movie proves that in Hollywood, ideology is more important than money,” McElhinney expressed to LifeZette in an email. “It’s amazing. This movie was becoming a hit number nine in the box office this week and on a fraction of the screens of the big studio movies. They don’t want the truth out there, and they’ll do anything – including throw away money – to stop us [from] telling this shocking true story.”
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.