Despite a major lack of support from mainstream Hollywood, “Gosnell” has been a successful venture.
The independently produced and distributed film — which follows the true story of Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor convicted on three counts of first degree murder — 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.
The film stars Dean Cain (pictured above left) as the detective who brought down Kermit Gosnell and Nick Searcy (pictured above right; he also directed the picture) as the mad doctor’s lawyer.
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.
The domestic total for “Gosnell” going into its second weekend was $1.8 million.
It’s the most successful independent film in America right now, and many would think theaters would be dying to have it play on their screens.
The producers behind “Gosnell,” however, are telling a different story.
Nearly 200 theaters reportedly dropped “Gosnell” even though the film performed better than most at many of those theaters.
Its theater count went from 668 to 480.
To add more confusion to the story, 15 of the 188 theaters to drop it were top-performing locations for the film.
“I can tell you from my experience in 15 years of releasing movies independently, we’re in uncharted territories,” John Sullivan, the marketing director and a producer for the film, told The Daily Wire. “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.”
The filmmaker, who has also been involved in films like “2016: Obama’s America,” added, “It’s hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie.”
“We have theaters that are dropping that are top theaters, that are performing very well,” Sullivan continued. “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.”
Sullivan acknowledged that the arrival of “Halloween” — which is projected to earn north of $70 million in its opening weekend — crowds the marketplace, but he said it still didn’t make sense to drop “Gosnell” from theaters where it was earning. And there was room for it.
The filmmakers have also received troubling reports that some theaters are marking the movie as “sold out” when it’s not or not advertising that the movie is even playing.
“This has come at an unprecedented level for us,” Sullivan said. “I’ve released a number of independent films, including the number two political documentary of all time [“2016: Obama’s America”]. 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.”
Producer Phelim McAleer released a statement through Facebook touching on potential pushback against his film from theaters.
“People are saying that they are going to the box office and being told that the film isn’t being shown when it is,” he said. “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.”
Many users responded to the statement by saying they could not buy tickets to the film or that it was not advertised as being shown within the theater.
Producer Ann McElhinney — who is married to McAleer — told LifeZette in an email, “This movie proves that in Hollywood, ideology is more important than money. 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.”
The opening weekend of “Gosnell” was a major victory for both conservatives and independent artists. It looks as if some are trying to take that victory away this weekend.
Check out the trailer for the film below and find theaters playing it here.