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Moviemaking may be largely about the writing, filming, and editing processes, there's a major aspect of the film industry that casual fans often don't think of: its release. There's negotiation between studios and theaters, where the amount of showings is determined before each new release arrives. This process is what gets movies in theaters, although controversial independent drama Gosnell is having a hard time keeping showings-- although that's not stopping it from making money.
Gosnell is an indie film starring Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman actor Dean Cain. After crowdfunding helped the movie get made, there are tons of theaters that are reportedly turning the edgy drama down. Despite showing in just 480 theaters, the movie managed to accrue an impressive $2,004,734 in box office sales over its first two weekends.
While $2 million is chump change compared to massive blockbusters like Star Wars or superhero movies, it's a pretty substantial hall for such a small indie movie-- especially considering that it's being shown in so few theaters. Gosnell was made on a budget of $4 million, which was accrued through the use of crowdfunding. While many indie flicks don't end up recouping their investment, it certainly seems like Gosnell may be able to do just that.
Gosnell producer and marketing director John Sullivan recently spoke to Daily Wire about being dropped, and he seems shocked that so many theaters are turning their backs on the movie. As he tells it,
I can tell you from my experience in 15 years of releasing movies independently, we're in uncharted territories. 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. We have theaters that are dropping that are top theaters, that are performing very well. We've been the number 6 in a 15-plex and it gets dropped this week. We've been number 9 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.
It's not totally clear why so many theaters and chains have decided to drop Gosnell, although the film's somewhat controversial subject matter seems like a good guess. It's not easy to sell a movie about illegal late-term abortions, yet here we are. And it's based off a true story.
Gosnell follows the investigation, trial, and eventual conviction of infamous abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell performed illegal late-term abortions in the early 2000s, and was eventually charged with murder and manslaughter after killing his patients and their newborn children.
Gosnell is in select theaters now, although it may be hard to find a screening, depending on your location. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.