By William Mahoney, Ph.D.
The pro-life film Unplanned opened to $6.1 million over the weekend and received much acclaim despite heavyhanded censorship by Twitter and various TV programs.
It's the second-best opening for Pure Flix, the faith-based studio that produced God's Not Dead, which had the first-best opening weekend at $7.6 million.
Twitter had suspended the Unplanned film's Twitter account over the weekend, even removing nearly 85,000 of their followers. Followers were being bumped and unable to follow the film account again, leading Mike Tokes to call Twitter's actions "conservative censorship."
WOW: First @UnplannedMovie's Twitter account was suspended, and now Twitter unilaterally removed roughly 85,000 of their followers.— Mike Tokes (@MikeTokes) April 1, 2019
Many users who followed the account are saying they have somehow unfollowed, and cannot follow them again.
This is conservative censorship. pic.twitter.com/C1OZUcnrOj
Church Militant was among accounts that could not follow Unplanned on Twitter.
The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted Twitter to ask about the censorship. Twitter claimed that one suspended account — which was not revealed — caused related accounts to be suspended as well. After receiving backlash, Twitter has since reinstated the Unplanned account.
Major networks like Lifetime, Hallmark Channel and HGTV have participated in their own form of "conservative censorship" by refusing to run any commercials for the film. Their marketers have refused to budge, leaving Fox News the only major network to run commercials for the film.
Pure Flix also had a hard time obtaining music licenses. They were denied the use of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party," One Direction's "Story of My Life," The Fray's "How to Save a Life" and Trevor Rabin's "The Guardian Suite."
Brad Slager at RedState commented, "These attempts to squelch an alternative voice on a political subject is a clear indicator of what conservatives normally face with the entertainment industry."
Despite all this "conservative censorship," Unplanned surprised critics with a good debut weekend.
While Beach Bum bombs and Dumbo disappoints, Unplanned surprises, according to Scott Mendelson at Forbes. Written and directed by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, the movie "overperformed" this weekend, which Mendelson considers "a big win since most of the faith-based biggies still come from Sony and Lionsgate as opposed to the various small-scale distributors."
Unplanned is based on Abby Johnson's book, Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader, which was published by Tyndale House in 2010.
Abby Johnson was once one of the youngest clinic directors at an abortion facility. She worked there for eight years, even winning an "Employee of the Year" award.
She once witnessed an abortion guided by ultrasound and was horrified to watch a child in the womb struggling for her life as she was systematically dismembered alive.
The experience caused her to leave her high-paying job and walk away from the nation's largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood.
Abby then founded an organization called And Then There Were None (ATTWN) to help others walk away from the abortion industry.
Unplanned tells this story.
In an interview with Abby Johnson about this film, Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann said: "There really aren't any enemies that we have in this, there are just those who haven't been able to see the truth yet."
This movie shows the truth about abortion. Thus, Traci Devette Griggs at NC Family Policy Council summarizes the movie's impact:
Whether you are a lifelong pro-life advocate who needs a wake-up call or someone suffering from post-abortion regrets, Unplanned is a movie with a message that will resonate with you, perhaps for a lifetime. It also provides a shove to those who seem determined to balance on the cultural fence on the issue of abortion — you absolutely cannot be both pro-life and pro-choice after seeing this film.
James Hirsen at Newsmax calls Unplanned a "must-see movie" and adds, "In honor of all the babies who have had to endure the procedure that Abby witnessed and worse, let's all go see 'Unplanned.'"
The movie has been added to 700+ more theaters nationwide. If you have not seen it yet, you can see where it is playing near you by following the link tweeted by the movie's Twitter account.