Three Calgary venues to screen anti-abortion film 'Unplanned'
Despite backlash, Cineplex has further defended its decision to screen the anti-abortion film 'Unplanned', which will be shown across Canada, including at some Calgary theatres.
In a statement, President and CEO of Cineplex, Ellis Jacob, notes the decision was a 'complicated one and it was not made easily or lightly.'
“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,” the statement read.
The America 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 on Friday.
It will also screen in 10 Landmark Cinemas as well as some independent theatres in Canada after a U.S. release stirred up intense debate on both sides of the issue.
In Calgary, the film will show at the Cineplex's Scotiabank Theatre Chinook and Landmark's Country Hills and Shawnessy theatres.
The showings come with increased controversy surrounding the film’s message.
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.'
Cineplex says it 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.
The Movie Mill in Lethbridge, Alberta, is also planning to beef up security for its 'Unplanned' screenings after 'a vocal negative opposition, who have indicated on multiple occasions 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.
After much debate and controversy, 'Unplanned' will finally hit Canadian theatres.
In part, the Cineplex screening deal may have been influenced by the film’s Co-director Cory Solomon who began a boycott campaign with religious groups and anti-abortion groups.
The 'Canada Wants Unplanned' in-line boycott campaign encouraged people to let Cineplex Entertainment know they would be boycotting their local theatre until 'Unplanned' was brought to the theatre chain.
Along with the campaign, a recent Edmonton screening of 'Unplanned' saw about 3,000 people pack into the Edmonton Expo Centre to show support for the film.
The Alberta Pro-Choice Coalition will be holding a peaceful protest on Friday at 6 p.m. outside the Chinook Centre Cineplex location.
In a Facebook post the group says, 'Cineplex has chosen to profit from an American propaganda film designed to target abortion providers and disparage women and gender diverse people that can get pregnant.'
The post continues, 'This U.S. religious propaganda portrays doctors as sinister, profit driven and unethical.'
Here are the Cineplex theatres screening 'Unplanned' across Canada:
- Cineplex Cinemas Langley (Langley, BC)
- SilverCity Mission Cinemas (Mission, BC)
- Scotiabank Theatre Chinook (Calgary, AB)
- Cineplex Odeon South Edmonton Cinemas (Edmonton, AB)
- Cineplex Cinemas Regina (Regina, SK)
- Scotiabank Theatre Saskatoon and VIP (Saskatoon, SK)
- Scotiabank Theatre Winnipeg (Winnipeg, MB)
- Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas and VIP (Toronto, ON)
- Cineplex Cinemas Vaughan (Vaughan, ON)
- Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill (Oakville, ON)
- SilverCity London Cinemas (London, ON)
- SilverCity Windsor Cinemas (Windsor, ON)
- Scotiabank Theatre Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)
- Cineplex Cinemas Dartmouth Crossing (Dartmouth, NS)
(With files from The Canadian Press )