The anti-abortion movie “Unplanned” may not be banned in Canada after all.
According to Grandin Media, after conservative media outlets reported that the top film distribution companies in America’s northern neighbor had effectively blackballed the Abby Johnson biopic from screening in the country earlier this week, the companies have now entered into negotiations with the film’s producers.
Speaking at a news conference on May 24, “Unplanned” co-director Cary Solomon announced that “Unplanned” could be screened in up to 10 to 20 Canadian cities under a deal they anticipate will be finalized as early as next week. He also 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.
Faytene Grasseschi, a pro-life advocate, said the Edmonton screening had been attended by major social media influencers, which sparked a national conversation.
“On the May 14th screening there were some influencers in the room, and the next morning conversations were already happening,” Grasseschi said. “We decided to really capitalize on the momentum coming out of Edmonton and launch a Canada-wide plan to reinforce that Canadians want this film.”
The largest theater chain, Cineplex, claimed it would not screen “Unplanned” because it had no distributor attached, though Grasseschi said that’s a complete lie. “A distributor has not picked it up — some don’t want to touch it or they couldn’t do it — but Cineplex is not powerless in this industry,” she said. “As a business that owns 80 percent of the theatres in this country, these are good businesspeople. They know this is profitable film, and if there was a strong will within the Cineplex executives, they could probably do it with a phone call.”
In an interview with LifeSiteNews last week, “Unplanned” writer/director/producer Chuck Konzelman said that Mongrel Media, the largest distribution company in Canada, turned the film down for “content” reasons. Canadian law dictates that films can only be shown in theaters if they also have distributors. Provincial film boards are also prevented from rating films that lack distributors on their application forms.
“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.