PureFlix’s controversial anti-abortion movie Unplanned is having trouble purchasing ads. Several TV networks flatly refused to air ads for the anti-Planned Parenthood movie, except for Fox News, who has actively been promoting the project. Unplanned opened to 1,000 theaters this week and despite the negative reaction from certain TV networks, the movie has already been able to earn $3 million and is estimated to bring in $6 million by the end of the weekend, which far exceeds the original estimates.
Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, and several other networks have all refused to give Unplanned ad time. Marketers have been persistent, but nobody is budging. Other than Fox News, every other mainstream television outlet has declined to air the ad. According to the movie’s marketers, the reasoning behind the denial has been because of the “sensitive nature of the film.” However, many were quick to point out that Lifetime previously aired an interview with Avengers: Endgame star Scarlett Johansson where she spoke about the benefits of Planned Parenthood. PureFlix also ran into trouble when the movie was slapped with an R-rating, leaving many Christian organizations to shy away from ads too.
Unplanned tells the true story of Abby Johnson, who left Planned Parenthood to become a pro-life activist. Michael Lindell, founder of My Pillow, who is a born-again Christian and big supporter of President Donald Trump gave the project $1 million. In a recent interview with Fox News, Johnson said that the movie is “her story and you can’t un-see it.” She worked with Planned Parenthood for eight years before leaving after seeing some “disturbing” images. Planned Parenthood released a statement in regard to the movie, which you can read below.
“The claims in this film are simply false. Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high-quality health care to our patients, including safe and legal abortion, in a safe and compassionate environment. The movie promotes many falsehoods including most importantly, distortions and incorrect depictions about healthcare.”
In addition to having trouble finding networks to air Unplanned ads, the project wasn’t able to secure music licensing either. Music supervisor Blake Kanicka says that Disney, Sony/ATV, Universal, and many other major labels declined to allow their songs to be used. “Our team has never seen such a uniform denial across the board regardless of price, genre, usage or type,” said Kanicka. Some of the songs that the movie wanted to use were Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” and “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo.
In order to use one of the aforementioned songs in any movie, the going rate is usually $7,500-$10,000 for 60 seconds-worth of music and more depending on if words are used or not. The only song that allowed licensing in Unplanned was one classical piece, written by German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who died in 1847. Abortion is a controversial issue in the United States, so it seems logical as to why certain TV networks and record labels did not want to get involved. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to reveal the Unplanned TV network news.