Search AFA

Despite Some Theaters Pulling It, Gosnell Movie Sustains Box Office Run

DAILY STAND SIGNUP
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 @ 7:05 PM
Despite Some Theaters Pulling It, Gosnell Movie Sustains Box Office Run ATTENTION: Major social media outlets are finding ways to block the conservative/evangelical viewpoint. Click here for daily electronic delivery of The Stand's Daily Digest - the day's top blogs from AFA.

Josh Shepherd Guest blogger Contributor to The Stream and other media outlets MORE

During its third weekend, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer took the 18th spot at the box office. It brings the independent film’s total take to $3.2 million. 

Gosnell also earned enough positive press reviews to get a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It has a 99% positive audience rating. Yet an estimated 200 screens dropped Gosnell since opening weekend, bringing theater count down to around 470. Filmmakers claim viewpoint discrimination may have played a role.

“We were in the top ten within [certain] L.A. and New York theaters, which had between 16 and 30 screens,” says producer John Sullivan in a statement to The Stream. “We can see from individual theater box office that we were dropped.”

This move follows the production’s earlier trialsGosnell was banned from a crowdfunding site, blocked from release last year by a federal judge, and barred from advertising on Facebook.

True Story, Lasting Impression

Gosnell dramatizes the story of a criminal abortion provider in urban Philadelphia. Kermit Gosnell was caught violating state health codes in a derelict multi-level clinic.

In 2013, a jury convicted Gosnell of three murders and more than 200 counts of violating state abortion laws. He is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in a Pennsylvania prison.

The true crime drama stars Dean Cain (“Superman” from TV’s Lois and Clark), Sarah Jane Morris (from The Night Shift) and Michael Beach (Soul Food). It also features director Nick Searcy (The Shape of Water) as Gosnell’s attorney and conservative pundit Alfonzo Rachel.

Cain related in a recent interview with Steven Crowder what he is hearing from friends who’ve watched the film.

“They say it was dead silent through the credits,” recounts Cain. “Then it sparked conversation, with people talking about it for days afterward. It sticks with them. It’s the kind of film that makes you think twice.”

Critics Call Abortion Doctor “Terrifying”

Earl Billings, known for past roles in Antwone Fisher and Crimson Tide, inhabits the film’s standout title character. He plays the abortion provider with a sinister aloofness noted by many critics.

“Billings anchors the production with his disconcertingly amenable, benign manner,” wrote Catholic film critic Steven Greydanus. The reviewer assumed Gosnell dramatized some moments. These include a bizarre scene of the doctor blithely playing piano during a criminal bust — and likewise his exotic pet turtles.

“To my surprise, though, an end-credits gallery [includes] real-life photos and video,” he stated. “Actual footage documents the real Gosnell doing exactly what the film depicts.”

Even negative reviews admit being surprised. “The events in Searcy’s film demand to be taken seriously,” wrote one critic. “It’s hard to calculate the atrocities Gosnell committed, and the tale of his apprehension and trial is undeniably fascinating.”

“Billings in particular gives a terrifying performance,” he notes.

Producer John Sullivan said, “I’m hopeful there will be curiosity of this true story that attracts an audience from the typical Halloween horror crowd,” said Sullivan.

“Kermit Gosnell is the biggest serial killer in history, as he operated under government protection for nearly two decades,” he continued. “This film would expose the horrors of what he did to a group that may not typically pay attention.”

This film is one of several biopics related to abortion releasing over the next year. Unplanned will portray how Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson abruptly quit the abortion industry. An independent film on the pivotal Roe v. Wade case recently wrapped. And Sandra Bullock will reportedly portray pro-choice Texas legislator Wendy Davis in Let Her Speak.

Audiences have shown accuracy to real-life events matters. Detective James Woods, portrayed by Dean Cain, granted local press an interview for the film. “A lot of scenes are pretty right on,” said Woods. “It’s dramatized but the facts are clear from start to finish, explaining how this happened.”

When asked about a scene showing babies’ feet preserved in jars, he affirmed its accuracy. “Now that I know that he was a serial killer, I believe that they were his trophies,” continued Woods. “It will stick with me the rest of my life. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things being in law enforcement for 34 years but nothing like this before.”

“This story needed to be told so nothing like this happens again.” 

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content including disturbing images and descriptions, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

(Editor’s note:  For a report during the time of trial, visit here.  Warning:  graphic written material in the article.  This was first posted on The Stream here:https://stream.org/gosnell-movie-box-office-success/. Stats in the first two paragraphs have been updated as of 11/1/18.)

Josh Shepherd covers culture, faith, and public policy for several media outlets including The Stream. His articles have appeared in The Daily Signal, The Christian Post, Boundless, Providence Magazine, and Christian Headlines. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he previously worked on staff at The Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family. Josh and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area.

 

SHOW COMMENTS
Please Note: We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the content. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at the author or other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved.

CONNECT WITH US

Find us on social media for the latest updates.

SUPPORT AFA

MAKE A DONATION ACTION ALERT SIGNUP Donor Related Questions: DONORSUPPORT@AFA.NET

CONTACT US

P.O. Drawer 2440 Tupelo, Mississippi 38803 662-844-5036 FAQ@AFA.NET
Copyright ©2018 American Family Association. All rights reserved.