Actor Ashley Bratcher (right) is shown in a scene from the film “Unplanned.” A controversial American anti-abortion film is set to hit Canadian theatres soon, with the distributor bracing for possible protests. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Soli Deo Gloria Releasing MANDATORY CREDIT

Cineplex sticks by decision to screen anti-abortion film ‘Unplanned’

It will also screen in 10 Landmark Cinemas as well as some independent theatres in Canada

Cineplex is further defending its decision to screen the anti-abortion film “Unplanned,” noting it was “a complicated one and it was not made easily or lightly.”

Ellis Jacob, president and CEO of Cineplex, has released a statement that follows up comments the company made last week to The Canadian Press about the film’s release.

The American drama, based on the true story of a Planned Parenthood clinic director in Texas who becomes an anti-abortion speaker, will screen in 14 Cineplex theatres in Canada for a week beginning Friday.

It will also screen in 10 Landmark Cinemas as well as some independent theatres in Canada, after a U.S. release that stirred up intense debate on both sides of the issue.

Jacob says showing controversial films on the big screen is not new to him, Cineplex or the industry as a whole, and he’s confident the company made the right decision.

He adds it’s important to remember that Canada is a country that values freedom of expression, and that audiences can decide whether or not they want to see the film.

“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 didn’t shy away from our differences — we embrace them,” Jacob, who was born in India, said in the statement issued Monday.

“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 want to live in.”

Jacob also noted that the responsibility of determining whether content is appropriate for movie audiences and setting age parameters falls to provincial and territorial governments, through film classification boards.

“I understand and can appreciate the concerns about the film, but it is up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to see it,” Jacob said.

“In Canada, we have that option and I think it is an important thing to remember.”

READ MORE: Controversial anti-abortion film ‘Unplanned’ to hit more than 24 Canadian theatres

“Unplanned” is being distributed in Canada by Fredericton-based Cinedicom, which is run by BJ McKelvie, who is also a pastor.

The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has called the film “a dangerous piece of anti-abortion propaganda” that “could incite fanatics to commit acts of harassment or violence against clinics or doctors.”

Jacob said Cineplex has received many phone calls and emails from Canadians on both sides of the conversation.

Salmar Theatres in Salmon Arm, B.C., says it has cancelled a planned five-day screening of the film after staff allegedly received threats.

And The Movie Mill in Lethbridge, Alta., is planning to beef up security for its “Unplanned” screenings after “a vocal negative opposition, who have indicated on multiple occasions boycotts and protests.”

“In light of this, we are hiring additional security for the opening weekend just to err on caution,” Leonard Binning, president of The Movie Mill Inc., said in an email last week to The Canadian Press.

“My young staff does not need to deal with any political fallout from showing movies — regardless of popular opinion.”

READ MORE: Anti-abortion film screening cancelled after B.C. theatre receives threats

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria hardly making a dent in greenhouse gas emissions target

One-per-cent drop from 2007 to 2018 a far cry from the 33-per-cent goal for 2020

Hearing begins into blind community’s complaint against BC Transit, City of Victoria

Complainant says bike lane infrastructure biased against blind pedestrians

One man in hospital with severe injuries after small fire in Victoria apartment building

Man was found by firefighters responding to multiple 911 calls about smoke on third floor

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Roadside barriers, amphibian fencing to be installed along Prospect Lake Road

Crews on-site 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., traffic impacts expected through September

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read