Cineplex explains decision to screen Abby Johnson’s ‘Unplanned’ in Canada
July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-life film Unplanned, which tells the true story of pro-life activist Abby Johnson’s conversion from the abortion industry, will be shown in Canada after all thanks to a decision by film distributor Cineplex.
Unplanned tells the real-life story of Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood abortion facility director who converted to the pro-life cause in 2009. Johnson has since exposed numerous details about the inner workings of the abortion industry, and now leads And Then There Were None, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people leave the abortion industry.
The film was released in the United States at the end of March and has grossed over $18 million. It held a spot in the box office top ten for the first two weeks of its release. Several Canadian distributors refused to accept the film, which has also kept it from getting an official rating in the country.
However, the film will screen in 24 Canadian theaters thanks to Cineplex and Cinedicom, the Canadian Press reports. In an open letter released Monday, Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob explains that the company determined that controversial content about hot-button issues should be available to discuss and debate.
“When I immigrated to Canada back in 1969, one of the things that I loved, and still love, the most about living here was that we don’t shy away from our differences — we embrace them,” he writes. “Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn’t always make you popular. In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.”
Ultimately, Jacob says, the responsibility of deciding whether to see it should rest with moviegoers themselves. Cineplex will show the film at 14 locations for a one-week run starting this Friday.
Meanwhile, Cinedicom president B.J. McKelvie, who is also a pastor, said that Unplanned “does certainly align with my values,” but “everybody has their right to choose to go see the movie and they have a right to choose not to.” His company generally books and brokers films rather than distributes them, but said he reached out to Unplanned’s American producers after “walking down the hall grumbling” about misinformation about the film, “and I heard the Lord say to me, ‘Well why don’t you distribute it?’ and that was rather different.”
In the U.S., Unplanned received an R rating for its intense depicitions of abortion, though the film contains no profanity, nudity, or sex. Film ratings vary by province in Canada. In Alberta it has a 14A classification for “disturbing content,” while in British Columbia it’s rated PG for “sexual language” and “medical trauma.”