$6 Million Anti-Abortion Movie Seeks Major Label Music, But Finds No Takers

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In an preliminary try to license songs, the filmmakers behind “Unplanned” have been turned down 9 of 10 occasions.

A $6 million film anticipated to be crucial of Planned Parenthood might have lots much less snippets of songs in it after a number of publishers have denied licensing music to the filmmakers, who’re accusing the business of bias towards anti-abortion/pro-life media efforts. 

Blake Kanicka, music supervisor for Unplanned, a characteristic movie being made by among the similar individuals who turned God’s Not Dead right into a shock field workplace hit, tells The Hollywood Reporter he was prevented from licensing any music from a half dozen of the most important music firms. 

“We must sadly deny the sync/grasp use on this movie. Disney doesn’t take sides in such social points no matter what facet is being promoted. Due to this purpose, we’ve got to disclaim,” was the response from Disney when Kanicka tried to license “The Guardian Suite,” an instrumental from composer Trevor Rabin.

Others have been much less particular about their refusals. Sony/ATV, for instance, wrote, “This has been respectfully denied” when executives there turned down a request for Nilu’s rendition of “How to Save a Life,” a tune initially from the pop band The Fray.

Sony/ATV additionally denied the filmmakers entry to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and “Story of My Life” by One Direction, whereas Round Hill Music denied them the usage of "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors.

“There was a sample of denial with our quote requests,” says Kanicka. “Our workforce has by no means seen such a uniform denial throughout the board no matter value, style, utilization or kind.”

Also giving the movie the thumbs down was Universal Music, which refused to license “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, the 1980s new-wave band fashioned by Danny Elfman, no stranger to film music.

For "Dead Man’s Party," a Universal Music exec quoted a value of $7,500-$10,000 for about 60 seconds of the tune and requested the filmmakers in an e-mail “if the movie is a religion primarily based manufacturing and what place it’s taking up the abortion situation." 

A consultant for the filmmakers knowledgeable Universal that the producers are personally supportive of disaster being pregnant facilities and wrote in an e-mail that “the movie is telling the true story of former clinic director Abby Johnson. There isn’t any official stance, however on the finish of her story, she walks away from performing abortions, after dealing with a particularly horrific expertise throughout an abortion process she was part of.”

The request was then denied.

“After weeks and in some circumstances months of speaking with these firms, it has been very discouraging and disheartening to comprehend the quantity of discrimination that exists in direction of the pro-life message,” stated Kanicka, a Grammy-nominated composer whose music has been featured on a number of TV exhibits.

Kanicka stated that of the 10 preliminary requests he has made, he has heard solely denials besides in a single case involving a classical music piece written by Felix Mendelssohn, the German composer who died in 1847. None of the businesses that denied requests for music responded to THR’s request for remark.

Kanicka stated an govt at one distinguished music label informed him that whereas she is supportive of the movie, she nonetheless is prevented from licensing any music to Unplanned. With one specific tune, the artist indicated she had no drawback along with her tune getting used within the movie, however the label nonetheless declined the licensing request.

Even faith-based bands have denied the filmmakers use of their songs, telling Kanicka that they may not afford the potential of an argument. “That’s the Holy Grail of liberalism; it dictates that artists can’t get entangled with sure social points even when they want the cash,” he stated.

While abortion has at all times been a hot-button situation, President Donald Trump’s appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has elevated the depth as of late, and a number of filmmakers on either side of the problem wish to profit.

Besides Unplanned, a film referred to as Roe v. Wade is in postproduction from Nick Loeb, a filmmaker engaged in a authorized battle over frozen embryos with ex-girlfriend Sofia Vergara, who stars on ABC's Modern Family. A teaser to be proven at a pro-life rally in Washington this weekend options information video of Kavanaugh, though the characteristic movie takes place within the early 1970s. For Roe v. Wade, Loeb stated he used composed music and didn’t attempt to license current songs.

Also, Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer was launched in October however earned simply $three.7 million in theaters. It gained’t launch to residence video till Feb. 5, however on Tuesday it was the No. 1 best-selling drama on Amazon and No. three general in DVD, Blu-ray disc and digital obtain, proving there’s a marketplace for an anti-abortion movie.

For Gosnell, John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting wrote an authentic piece referred to as “Song for the Innocents,” and producer Phelim McAleer stated he didn’t trouble making an attempt to license current mainstream music. He did, although, have an issue licensing different media: He was turned down when he tried to get a clip from CNN the place Anderson Cooper remarks on the dearth of reports protection of abortion physician Kermit Gosnell, now in jail for first-degree homicide and involuntary manslaughter.

"We have been turned down for one thing so simple as a information clip,' stated McAleer. "Knowing Hollywood's basic angle towards abortion, it will have been a complete waste of time to pursue any music licensing … we already knew what the reply can be."

Beyond the anti-abortion/pro-life movies, there are a number of pro-choice motion pictures within the pipeline, together with Let Her Speak, starring Sandra Bullock as former Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, and This Is Jane, which stars Michelle Williams and is in regards to the girls who helped to offer abortions previous to the Roe v. Wade choice that legalized the process. There was additionally Reversing Roe, a documentary that debuted on Netflix in September throughout the contentious hearings that in the end resulted in Kavanaugh’s appointment.

Unplanned's financiers embody My Pillow founder Michael Lindell, who not too long ago stated he invested $1 million into the pic's complete finances. One of the filmmakers behind Unplanned has been down this street earlier than whereas engaged on Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a conservative documentary starring Ben Stein that was launched in 2008 and included John Lennon’s tune "Imagine." Yoko Ono and Sean and Julian Lennon sued to get the tune eliminated, however misplaced when a choose dominated the filmmakers have been protected underneath copyright regulation permitting work for use for criticism or commentary. Unplanned, although, must license songs, whereas Expelled didn’t due to its standing as a documentary.

Music and conservative politics have additionally butted heads a number of occasions prior to now few years at stay occasions, with about three dozen artists making an attempt (unsuccessfully) to cease Trump from utilizing their music at his political rallies, together with Queen, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Neil Young, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna and Guns N’ Roses.

This article was initially revealed in The Hollywood Reporter.