Catholic Vancouver June 25, 2019
Unplanned to get one-week run at ‘handful’ of Cineplex theatres
By Paul Schratz
*At press time June 27, The B.C. Catholic confirmed with Cineplex spokesperson Sarah Van Lange that the chain will be screening Unplanned “at a handful of our theatres across Canada for a one-week run beginning on July 12, 2019.”
Tickets, theatre listings, and showtime information will be available on Cineplex.com, the Cineplex mobile app, and at participating theatre box offices beginning July 10, she said, confirming that Langley and Mission theatres are on the list of participating theatres.
Anyone hoping to host a private group screening at a different Cineplex theatre is asked to contact the film’s distributor, Cinedicom.
Unplanned is gearing up for its national release in Canada July 12, despite non-existent theatre promotion, boycott threats, and media skepticism about the pro-life film’s accuracy and distribution goals.
The film has received a PG rating in B.C. and is slated to appear on Landmark Cinema screens and in some Cineplex and independent theatres, according to organizers of a grassroots campaign to get Unplanned into Canadian cinemas.
But some media are highlighting efforts to boycott the movie and expressing skepticism about the veracity of its account of Abby Johnson’s conversion from abortion clinic director to ardent pro-lifer.
Huffpost published a lengthy article questioning whether the movie will reach as many theatres as organizers suggest.
The article also highlights concerns of abortion supporters about the negative impact the film could have if it’s widely shown.
“The film really poses a danger ... It’s not going to have an impact on the larger culture, but it’s going to have a big impact on this small subculture, which can spawn a lot of extremism and harassment, and even violence,” said Joyce Arthur of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
Media that do report on the film are focusing on abortion supporters’ efforts to boycott theatres that show the film. Unplanned “is full of misinformation about abortion, which isn’t surprising from a propaganda film,” Kathy Dawson, a board member with the Alberta Pro-choice Coalition, told The Toronto Star.
A Globe and Mail story about Unplanned quoted only negative reviews, citing it as “proselytizing agitprop,” “a gory mess,” and “effective propaganda,” although audiences seem to disagree, rating it A+ on CinemaScore and giving it a 92 per cent favourable rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Unplanned officials say the film is scheduled to be on all Landmark Cinema screens, as well as 15 Cineplex theatres and several independent theatres.
Abortion supporters have been targeting Landmark with harassing posts on its Facebook page.
Although Landmark doesn’t have Unplanned listed among its upcoming movies yet, it’s replying to the Facebook attacks and appears to be standing its ground.
Cineplex’s website last week listed Unplanned as an upcoming movie, however there’s so sign of the film on cineplex.com this week. The B.C. Catholic reached out to Cineplex for an update. A communications representative for the chain said Cineplex would have more details in a few days.
In the meantime the film’s supporters and producers are encouraging people to contact their local theatres and consider doing theatre buyouts – private viewings arranged with the theatre by an organization, church, or group that purchases all the tickets in advance. The group then sells the tickets as a fundraiser or community outreach.
Organizers say Cineplex will accommodate theatre buyouts at any Cineplex location, including those not planning to show Unplanned.
The movie has received a rating of PG from Consumer Protection B.C., a more impartial assessment than the R rating it received in the U.S.
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