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

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

UPDATED: Vehicle strike likely caused death of grizzly cubs

The cubs were discovered on June 30 on Thorsen Creek Road

B.C. to begin increasing coastal log export charges

New fees based on harvest cost, cedar no longer exempt

Three more earthquakes off north and central B.C. coasts

No tsunami or damage reported after the aftershocks in near Bella Bella, Port Hardy and Haida Gwaii

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Health Canada revokes licences of B.C.-based pot producer Agrima Botanicals

The agency said it notified the company of a suspension in November due to non-compliance with regulations

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth says it is offering more than a million deals

Canadian national softball team wins second straight Canada Cup

Team Canada defeats Texas-based Scrapyard International in gold-medal game Sunday in Surrey

June sees drop in home sales, prices for real estate across B.C.: report

Sales dropped by 11.8%, while prices fell by 4%

Most Read