Two independent Canadian theater owners received death threats ahead of screenings for the pro-life movie "Unplanned," reports LifeSiteNews.
"Police are investigating death threats sent to two Canadian independent theatre owners because they are screening the pro-life movie Unplanned on July 12," the outlet reported. "As a safety measure, the movie’s producers have now removed from their website the comprehensive July 12 listing of 46 Canadian theatres — independents, Cineplex and Landmark locations — that will be showing Unplanned."
"Unplanned" tells the story of famed Planned Parenthood defector Abby Johnson, who left the organization to become a pro-life activist after witnessing an abortion while working at the Bryan, Texas, Planned Parenthood clinic in 2009. Released in March, the movie arguably became one of the most successful independent movies of 2019 thus far by raking in $18 million in the box office on a $6 million budget.
"Unplanned" producer Chuck Konzelman told LifeSiteNews that they removed theater listings from the movie's website at the request of B.J. McKelvie, president of Fredericton-based Cinedicon, the Canadian distributor of the film.
"McKelvie confirmed to LifeSiteNews that two Canadian independent cinema owners contacted police after receiving death threats they perceived as credible, and that they are 'fearful for their families,'" the report continued. "Another Canadian independent theatre owner 'has been harrassed to the extreme.' One of the two owners who contacted the police has cancelled the Unplanned screening, but all the rest 'are holding their ground,' McKelvie said."
McKelvie noted that the death threats were largely targeted at independent theater chains because "they didn’t get anywhere with Cineplex, or they didn’t get anywhere with Landmark" — the two largest theater chains in the country.
"It’s unfortunate it’s come to that," McKelvie told the outlet. "It’s just a movie. The topic is certainly a hot topic. However, it is just a movie. I find it ironic, they talk about choice, pro-choice, pro-choice, pro-choice, but they’re not giving people a choice to go see the movie."
The death threats come shortly after "Unplanned" producers began entering into negotiations with Canadian distribution companies after they allegedly blackballed the film from screening in some of the top theater chains. After severe backlash from the Canadian pro-life community, the distributors changed their minds. Co-director Cary Solomon said in a news conference in late May that the movie would be screened in up to 10 to 20 Canadian cities and thanked the Canadian pro-life community for helping to bring the companies to the table.
"This all emanated out of the pro-lifers who came out of Canada, so I think you should be really proud of yourselves," Solomon said at the news conference. "All of this heroic stuff that you’re doing in Canada is being seen by the rest of the world. I think in the final analysis it may be Canada that will get the credit for ending this abortion nightmare."
After the Canadian pro-life community vowed to boycott theaters, a screening of the film in Edmonton packed in 3,000 people, which undoubtedly pushed the top distribution companies to negotiate. Over 5,000 people signed onto the boycott's online campaign.