Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media:

Unplanned continued to surprise industry experts, with a strong box office run in its second week for an estimated 8th place finish. The film earned an estimated $3.2 million after expanding to 1,515 screens. The true of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director-turned-pro-life advocate, beat industry predictions again with a per screen average of $2,111. Audience support continues to be strong, with word of mouth on social media providing support for the film as well as an unusual A+ rating from CinemaScore. Distributor Pure Flix expanded Unplanned’s footprint this weekend to an additional 500 screens, becoming the studio’s second-highest box office success after God’s Not Dead 2. It was released nationally on 1,000 screens on March 29.

The movie’s success comes despite a controversial R rating from the MPAA (apparently for violence due to a scene scene simulating an abortion). Additionally, a number of television networks refused to air commercials for the film and on its weekend Twitter suspended the film’s page twice only to reverse itself an hour later (in doing so growing the total number of followers from 8,000 to now more than 350,000).

“Every day I am waking up to messages about how people have been impacted by seeing UNPLANNED,” reports Abby Johnson. “Some walked in pro-choice and walked out pro-life. Others are finding healing from past abortions. And many are finally seeing for the first time that this is what abortion looks like. I am so encouraged by the success of the film and that people are bringing their friends and family, especially those who are on the fence about abortion. It’s my hope that Unplanned will be the catalyst to make abortion unthinkable, not only in this nation, but the entire world.”

Here is the a clip from the Last Supper scene from Judas: The Betrayal, episode 5 of Jesus: His Life airing (followed by another episode) Monday, April 8 at 8:00 PM (ET). HISTORY’s eight-episode event Jesus: His Life explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.

Episode 5 – Judas: The Betrayal  

Premieres Monday, April 8 at 8pm ET/PT on HISTORY

His name a synonym for traitor even to this day, Judas is known as the devoted disciple who ultimately betrays Jesus. What prompted one of Jesus’ closest friends to turn on him remains one of the Bible’s great mysteries, one explored as Jesus and his disciples enter Jerusalem for Passover and what will become the Last Supper.

 Episode 6 – Pilate: The Trial   

Premieres Monday, April 8 at 9pm ET/PT on HISTORY

Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, has to make a decision about a troublesome preacher called Jesus. As pressure builds to execute Jesus, Pilate’s wife, inspired by a prophetic nightmare, urges him to leave Jesus alone. Instead, Pilate sends him away to be crucified, and publicly washes his hands of responsibility.

 Van Jones to host The Redemption Project on CNN.

This April 28, a new CNN series will explore the transformative power of forgiveness, grace, and redemption. Each episode of The Redemption Project will follow the victim, or surviving family members, of a life-altering crime as they journey to meet face-to-face with their offender in the hopes of finding answers or some sense of healing. Van Jones will serve as a guide for the viewer throughout this transformational experience of healing and forgiveness.