UPDATE 3/26, 10:45a: October Baby did very well at the box office this weekend. According to The Hollywood Gossip:
The anti-abortion drama October Baby opened in 390 theaters nationwide this weekend, earning the second-highest per-screen average behind The Hunger Games.
Samuel Goldwyn released the movie, starring Rachel Hendrix, John Schneider and Jasmine Guy, primarily in favorable political environments, earning $1.7M….
The movie’s overall gross is technically $1.9 million now….
In an effort to finance a wider release, filmmakers were able to raise $3 million from investors. To promote the film, its backers screened it for church groups and ran advertisements on networks such as Fox News.
While its niche may be relatively small, it is that dedicated, laser-targeted audience that helped make fellow faith-based fare Fireproof, starring Kirk Cameron, one of the most successful independent films of 2008, grossing $33.5 million.
According to Box Office Mojo, October Baby landed in the top 10 for the weekend, quite respectable.
UPDATE 3/26, 10:27a: I went to see October Baby Saturday night with a group of pro-life friends and was pleasantly surprised by a bonus feature that ran during film credits but was not in the cut I was sent to review. Actress Shari Rigby spoke of her own abortion and the healing she had received.
This was a brilliant move on the part of filmmakers, who compasssionately planned ahead for those who would see the movie who had been touched by abortion. Cuts were taken from this profile of Rigby…
October Baby tells the story of 19-yr-old college student Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), who embarks on a personal fact-finding mission after learning she is an adopted abortion survivor.
Subplots involve finding romance with long-time best friend Jason (Jason Burkey) and repairing the damaged relationship with adoptive father Jacob (John Schneider).
I had a lengthy conversation with co-writer and co-director Jon Erwin during the March for Life in January, a good man. Jon relayed a couple real life subplots to the movie.
One is when abortive mother Shari collapses in remorse after receiving a visit from Hannah. The raw emotion displayed in the scene is real, because actress Shari Rigby really had one and was actually reliving her pain in the moment.
Another is one of the songs in October Baby. Listen for the haunting “Ocean Floor,” sung by real life abortion survivor Gianna Jessen. Download it here. The only video performance I could find was apparently when Gianna performed on Italian television last month….
Here’s the problem with October Baby, from review site Rotten Tomatoes…
Movie critics don’t like October Baby so much (notable exception: a decent review in the LA Times), and audiences do.
The easiest explanation is that critics are by and large liberal and the audiences in this case are by and large pro-life.
But ideological differences aside, there is some validity to complaints by critics that portions of the plot are contrived. I have to agree (Would a father really leave it to a doctor to break the news of such a shocking birth history? etc.), although the acting and many of the screen shots are superb.
The film critic in me gives the movie 2-1/2 stars (out of 4), and the pro-lifer in me gives it 4 stars.
I appreciate the passion of the Erwin brothers and that they went to more trouble than I can imagine to get a plausible pro-life story on the big screen. Gianna is proof that the movie’s scenario is real. October Baby has and will generate conversation about abortion. It humanizes those the other side would rather be regarded as blobs of tissue. (Don’t forget Barack Obama voted as state senator to let babies like Gianna and Hannah die.)
As I said at the onset of this post, try to see October Baby this weekend. You’ll be glad you did, and its getting good traction will encourage the making of more pro-life films.