Producers of the anti-abortion film Unplanned say major music publishing labels have denied licensing rights to music for the movie.
Blake Kanicka, music supervisor for the film about former Planned Parenthood Director Abby Johnson, who ultimately became pro-life, told The Hollywood Reporter he requested the rights to ten songs from major music publishing companies, but was only granted the rights to one of them.
“There was a pattern of denial with our quote requests,” said Kanicka. “Our team has never seen such a uniform denial across the board regardless of price, genre, usage or type.”
According to the report, Disney responded to Kanicka’s attempt to license instrumental “The Guardian Suite,” composed by Trevor Rabin, with the statement: “We will have to unfortunately deny the sync/master use in this film. Disney does not take sides in such social issues regardless of what side is being promoted. Due to this reason, we have to deny.”
Sony/ATV “respectfully denied” the music supervisor’s request for Nilu’s version of “How to Save a Life,” originally recorded by The Fray.
Requests for licensing rights to Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and One Direction’s “Story of My Life” were also denied by Sony/ATV, and Round Hill Music turned down a request to use “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.
Universal Music also reportedly refused to license “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo. The publisher quoted a price of $7,500–$10,000 for 60 seconds of the song but then asked the filmmakers “if the film is a faith based production and what position it is taking on the abortion issue.”
When an Unplanned representative responded to Universal with the theme of the movie, the request for licensure was denied.
“After weeks and in some cases months of communicating with these companies, it has been very discouraging and disheartening to realize the amount of discrimination that exists towards the pro-life message,” said Kanicka, a Grammy-nominated composer.
The music supervisor said only one classical piece, written by German composer Felix Mendelssohn, who died in 1847, was approved for licensure.
He added that even faith-based bands have refused use of their songs to the filmmakers because of the controversy that comes with the abortion issue.
“That’s the Holy Grail of liberalism,” Kanicka observed. “It dictates that artists can’t get involved with certain social issues even if they need the money.”
The film, directed by faith-based filmmakers Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, has a budget of $6 million and is being produced by some of the same people who backed God’s Not Dead, a 2014 movie starring Kevin Sorbo that crashed the box office chart with its surprise success.
MyPillow founder and CEO Michael Lindell announced in November that he invested $1 million in Unplanned.
“I’m pro-life and I’m happy to do it,” Lindell told The Hollywood Reporter about his contribution to the making of the film.
The producers of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, released last fall, also dealt with anti-pro-life sentiment.
In September, for example, Planned Parenthood forced the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin, Texas, to cancel a pre-screening of the film about convicted murderer and abortionist Kermit Gosnell.
Filmmaker Phelim McAleer referred to the treatment Gosnell received as “bullying.”
“We paid a deposit and signed a contract, but they phoned … and said they were cancelling for ‘security reasons,’” he told Breitbart News in an email at the time.
He and Ann McElhinney produced Gosnell in 2014 with $2.3 million raised on crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The film’s release, however, had suffered four years of obstacles.
Made in 2014, Gosnell was supposed to be released in 2017; however, as The Hollywood Reporter noted, Judge Jeffrey Minehart — who presided over Gosnell’s trial — sued to block the film’s release because he reportedly was fearful of being portrayed as a member of “Philadelphia’s liberal corrupt government.”