The film based on pro-life advocate Abby Johnson’s book of the same name is performing big at the box office — and in more important ways, as well.[NC Register] When the crowd of moviegoers spotted Mark Cavaliere in his blue 40 Days for Life shirt, it was like they’d spotted a movie star on the street.
VIDEO: Unplanned Official Trailer [Jan. 31, 2019]
“Hey, that’s the same shirt from the movie!” he heard some of them exclaim.
“They couldn’t comprehend it,” said the executive director of the Southwest Coalition for Life with a chuckle.
He was just gathering his 40 Days for Life materials from the theater where his organization had hosted a screening of Unplanned, the movie based on pro-life advocate Abby Johnson’s book of the same name. The people awed by his shirt had been in a neighboring theater, watching the same movie.
“I passed out information to people leaving the general showing, as well,” said Cavaliere, whose organization has hosted more than half a dozen screenings of the film.
At each of those screenings, Cavaliere spoke to the audience before and after the film, telling them about the Coalition for Life and the 40 Days for Life campaign. “This 40-day prayer vigil you just saw [depicted in the movie], and the power of that prayer, is happening right now in our own backyard,” he told them. “This could be your story, just by signing up for an hour of prayer.”
And his presentations have been working. Typically, the Southwest Coalition for Life works with more than 600 volunteers during each 40 Days for Life campaign. The group is able to place volunteers in front of three abortion businesses, 7am-7pm, each day of the campaign.
Cavaliere is still working his way through all the cards of interested volunteers submitted to him at the Unplanned screenings his group hosted — but he’s already topped more than 100 new potential vigil participants and expects that number to more than double.
“With all the laws going on recently, with late-term abortion and infanticide laws — people are just fed up,” he said. “It’s finally a wake-up call.
“They want to do something. They just need a little bit of direction.”
By the Numbers
Independently made with a budget of $6 million, Unplanned officially opened March 29 in 1,059 theaters. Disney’s Dumbo, with a budget of $170 million, opened the same day, in roughly four times as many theaters.
The next day, Forbes ran a story headlined “Friday Box Office: ‘Dumbo’ Disappoints, ‘Unplanned’ Surprises and ‘Beach Bum’ Bombs.” On more than 4,000 screens, Dumbo brought in a little more than $15 million on opening day; Unplanned earned $2.72 million.
This article continues at [NC Register] Unplanned Opportunity: How a Movie’s Unexpected Success Is Reinvigorating Pro-Lifers