The movie, the first feature by a pair of filmmaking brothers from Birmingham, Ala., opened the same weekend as the chart-topping “Hunger Games,” but with the backing of evangelical groups and churches, “October Baby” managed to open at No. 8 and, through Sunday, had made $2.8 million, more than three times its production budget. It is expected to move to more than 500 screens on April 13.
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films and the Sony-owned Provident Films, which specializes in socially-conservative religious fare, it benefited from the kind of grass-roots religion-focused marketing (enlisting Bible and prayer groups and ministries) that has carried their other Christian-oriented movies, like “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” to box-office success.
But those films did not center on a lightning-rod topic like abortion. “October Baby” tells the story of Hannah, 19, a home-schooled Baptist who is told by a doctor that her ailments — asthma, seizures, moodiness — are the result of being born prematurely after an abortion attempt.
Hannah sets out to find her birth mother, a quest that ends in tears and, ultimately, a lesson in forgiveness delivered by a Catholic priest.
It was inspired by the story of Gianna Jessen, who says she was delivered alive at a California clinic after a late-term saline-injection abortion. As a paid speaker at anti-abortion events she tells of her struggles and medical conditions. (The film doesn’t get into the science, but a 1985 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology examined 33,000 suction curettage abortions and found a failure rate of 2.3 per 1,000 at the 12-weeks or earlier.)
Though “October Baby” arrives at a moment when reproductive rights and women’s sexual health are again part of a robust national debate, its makers say they weren’t acting with a political agenda.
“I was just dumbfounded by a true story,” said Jon Erwin, 29, a co-writer and a producer of the movie, which he directed with his brother Andrew, 33. “I didn’t see it as a political issue.”
This is interesting.
More at the link.
Apparently, some of the big movies studios wanted nothing to do with the film, obviously since movies like this are a stake in the heart of the pro-choice abortion industry. The first paragraph of Jeannette Catsoulis’ review at the New York Times reveals, really, all you need to know about the reaction on the left:
More slickly packaged than most faith-based fare, “October Baby” gussies up its anti-abortion message with gauzy cinematography and more emo music than an entire season of “Grey’s Anatomy.” But not even a dewy heroine and a youth-friendly vibe can disguise the essential ugliness at its core: like the bloodied placards brandished by demonstrators outside women’s health clinics, the film communicates in the language of guilt and fear.
All that for a movie about the real-life survivor of a botched abortion. That ought to tell you something.
Jill Stanek has more: “All about “October Baby”.”