Phelim McAleer, producer of “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” says he and his team are receiving reports from across the country of movie theaters obstructing people who want to see his film about the notorious abortion doctor.
“People are saying that they are going to the box office and being told that the film isn’t being shown when it is actually being shown,” McAleer said in a video posted on Facebook.
“We are being told that people are also not able to buy tickets online,” he said. “We’re told that when people phone theaters, they’re told not to go, that it’s propaganda.”
“This is suppression of this film. You know that the mainstream media have been trying to close down the Gosnell story since the moment it started,” said McAleer.
The Daily Wire reported that despite surpassing box office expectations – finishing in the Top 10 grossing films with a revenue of $1.2 million – of the 668 cinemas that ran the film over the weekend, 188 have dropped it, including those in major cities where it was performing the strongest.
Among the cinemas that canceled “Gosnell,” 15 were top-performing multiplexes, the Daily Wire found.
In his Facebook video, McAleer urged people who have any trouble in their effort to see the movie to let him and his team know via Facebook.
Co-producer Ann McElhinney, McAleer’s wife, said in a radio interview that people have “gone to theaters and been told by the guy selling tickets, ‘You don’t want to go and see that. Why don’t you go and see ‘Venom’ instead.'”
McAleer said some theaters claimed the movie was sold out when it actually wasn’t and some didn’t advertise that it was playing.
McElhinney said that what makes the reaction even more astounding is how profoundly the film is changing people’s lives.
“At one place, a priest stood up and said, ‘Would anyone like to pray?’ and everyone stayed, and everyone prayed,” she told the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” radio program. “In other places, people huddled in groups in the foyers of movie theaters and prayed. This is what we’re getting from the audience.
“But I can tell you that the warfare from the establishment is phenomenal,” she said.
As WND reported, after opening to just two reviews in major media outlets, the producers of Gosnell wrote a letter to the National Society of Film Critics noting other films released the same weekend were reviewed by 70 to 280 publications.
In an interview with WND, McAleer contended the movie was being ignored because of its exposure of the abortion procedure.
“The establishment hates that the truth is getting out there,” the Irish filmmaker said.
Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell is serving life in prison for the murder of three infants who were born alive during late-term abortion procedures. But McAleer cites evidence in a grand-jury report and elsewhere that Gosnell likely killed hundreds more.
A review by Forbes said the movie was made for “avid right-wing media consumer(s)” and the Los Angeles Times said it “never loses sight of the choir to which it is plainly preaching.”
However, “Gosnell” has a 99 percent Audience Score rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
WND columnist Jack Cashill praised the film and concluded “the major media are refusing to review the movie for much the same reason they refused to report on the trial. Any honest look at abortion unnerves them.”
‘We’re in uncharted territories’
John Sullivan, the film’s marketing director who also served as a producer, told the Daily Wire the it’s “hard not to believe it isn’t about the content of the movie.”
“I can tell you from my experience in 15 years of releasing movies independently, we’re in uncharted territories,” he said. “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 6 or number 9 movie is just something you don’t see.”
Veteran actor Dean Cain, who portrays a detective who pursued Gosnell, told LifeZette in an email:
“I have never experienced anything like this before, but perhaps it’s a sign of the times,” he said. “So many folks have become so polarized these days here in the United States that they instantly demonize anyone with whom they have any disagreement. It happens on both sides, and I find it ridiculous.”
McElhinney said it’s “one of those rare moments in time when the pro-life movement has the opportunity to make serious impact on the hearts and minds of Americans.”
“So what can you do? Keep buying tickets, for one. Take your church group, your family, or your Bible study. If your local theater isn’t playing the movie, call them up and demand it. Then have your friends do the same. Ask them, “Why won’t you show this film?”
Then, “most importantly,” she said, “pray.”
“There’s a spiritual battle taking place in America over the truth in this movie. And it’s a battle – after 60 million unborn lives – that needs to be waged.”
‘Offense’ to ‘community standards’
The obstacles for the makers of “Gosnell” began with being unable to find a studio in Hollywood willing to fund it.
They decided to go directly to the public for crowdfunding. But the most prominent crowdfunding site, Kickstarter, rejected the request, saying it would offend their “community standards.”
NPR rejected an ad describing Gosnell as an “abortionist” and “abortion doctor,” even though the taxpayer-funded outlet’s own coverage of the subject uses the terms.
And among other opposition, as WND reported, a hotel under apparent pressure from Planned Parenthood canceled a screening of the movie.