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.

Just Posted

Federal Green Party leader visits Ashcroft

Elizabeth May was in town with Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon Green Party nominee John Kidder

Historic Cornwall fire lookout to get some tender loving care

Volunteers are being sought for a work bee at the lookout in August

Ashcroft resident now in his 25th year of riding to raise funds for BC Lung Association

Wayne Chorneychuk once more getting ready to ride in the Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath

Wildfire smoke can pose serious health risks

Tips to help you stay safe during the smoky summer season

Communities in Bloom judges coming to Ashcroft

All are invited to a meet and greet, where prizes for best gardens and street will be presented

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read