After less than two weeks at the box office, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” has racked up around $2.5 million, an impressive haul considering that more than 200 theaters have dropped the movie since its release on October 12. The mainstream media has largely ignored the film, Facebook has refused to run its ads, and it seems a large group of people want to pretend the movie does not even exist.
“This movie really exposes something that the Left does not want to report about,” Nick Searcy, the film’s director, told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. “They’re basically trying to ignore this movie. They’re trying to say that it doesn’t exist because they don’t want to have a discussion about abortion.”
Searcy argued that abortion is tantamount to a “sacrament” on the Left, so any story that paints it in a bad light must be silenced. “Gosnell” tells the story of Kermit Gosnell, an abortionist in Philadelphia who was sentenced to life in prison for first degree murder of three babies he killed after birth and involuntary manslaughter of one of his patients. His disgusting clinic has been dubbed a “house of horror.”
Last week, the Daily Wire’s Paul Bois reported that 188 theaters had dropped the film in the first week since it opened. On Tuesday, the “Gosnell” team told PJ Media that number has climbed to 253.
“Gosnell” opened in 668 theaters on October 12, raking in more than $1.1 million, according to Box Office Mojo. On Friday October 19, it was only running in 480 theaters. On Tuesday, the team reported that 415 theaters are still screening the film.
John Sullivan, the film’s marketing director, told the Daily Wire “we’re in uncharted territories. … The fact that we’ve been dropped from theaters where the movie is the number 6 or number 9 movie is just something you don’t see.”
Sullivan recalled hearing that some theaters actively prevented customers from buying a ticket by declaring a screening “sold out” before capacity is reached.
“It’s hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie,” he said.
“They’ve been dropping it after it’s been really successful in that particular theater,” Phelim McAleer, a coauthor of the book on which the movie is based, told PJ Media. “It doesn’t make any business sense at all. I suppose it makes political sense for Hollywood.”
McAleer described promoting the film as a near-Kafkaesque struggle. “The mainstream media has basically not reviewed the film at all. NPR refused to take our ads. Facebook blocked our ads,” he said.
“The Hollywood Reporter didn’t review it, Variety didn’t review it, The New York Times didn’t review it,” McAleer explained. “The only mainstream media coverage was 400 words in the Los Angeles Times.”
The author noted the irony of the Left choosing to largely ignore such a huge story. “Gosnell’s victim, Karnamaya Mongar, was a woman of color, a refugee,” he said. “Liberals claim to care about women of color and refugees, but she died after four months here. No one investigated her death.”
“She died in a sanctuary city, but got no sanctuary,” McAleer quipped.
Searcy, the film’s director, suggested the Left’s cultural power is driving this media blackout and the theater drop.
“Abortion is one of those things that the Left doesn’t want anybody to look at,” the director told PJ Media. “They like it as an idea but there are too many facts in the movie and the facts make them uncomfortable.”
He noted that “some of the reviews I’ve read said that the film becomes very partisan when we go into the courtroom. I find that rather hilarious because everything that happens in the courtroom is basically taken from court transcripts. We didn’t make any of that up.”
In the film, Searcy plays Gosnell’s lawyer Mike Cohan, who argued that there is no difference between Gosnell’s grisly abortions and those performed by more mainstream abortionists. “He was making the argument that there’s no difference. It’s not us making the argument, it’s Gosnell’s attorney making the argument,” Searcy explained.
He argued that abortion clinics must be inspected regularly to prevent the horrors of a clinic like Gosnell’s. His abortion factory “wasn’t inspected for 17 years because the Left doesn’t want to ‘impose’ upon women’s reproductive rights. But if you don’t inspect these clinics, a Gosnell is what occurs.”
While the film arguably undercuts some key arguments for abortion, Searcy insisted that he did not intend to make a pro-life movie.
“If you’re too obvious about your message, the film is boring,” he warned. “You’re just making an argument, not telling a story. If we had made it ore overtly a pro-life movie, it would have been dull.”
“I had no interest in making a movie that was purely preaching to the pro-life side of the argument. I wanted to reveal the facts about both sides in this case,” he told PJ Media. “I though that this could be some kind of common ground we could agree on, but the Left won’t agree with you on anything.”
“I was shocked by the hard-headedness of the Left,” the director said. He argued that the liberal critics who actually reviewed the film “lied about it.” These critics said “Gosnell” purposefully confused a legal abortion with the kind of abortion Gosnell carried out. In fact, the movie makes it extremely clear that the grisly abortionist was violating the law with his abortions.
Abortion “is kind of like a sacrament to the Left,” Searcy argued. “They want to be able to say, ‘That baby is poor and he’s going to be raised in terrible circumstances. Therefore, he or she should not be allowed to live.'”
The director traced the issue back to a “totalitarian streak” that plagues the Left in general. “The Left by and large — the Left throughout history that started Marxism, the U.S.S.R., Cuba — the Left wants to be the arbitrator of life and death. They want to decide who is allowed to live and who isn’t.” He mentioned the 100 million people who died from Communism.
“If you don’t believe there’s a divine aspect to life, then killing anyone that’s inconvenient to your ideology is no problem,” Searcy warned.
Despite the media blackout, the Facebook ad block, and the hundreds of theaters dropping the movie, the “Gosnell” team told PJ Media that they are working on getting screenings at new theaters. The Gosnell movie website has a list of all theaters screening the film, and interested moviegoers can request screenings in their area.
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