The pro-life movie “Unplanned” has been effectively banned from screening in Canadian cinemas, reports LifeSiteNews.
Speaking with Chuck Konzelman — writer, director, and producer of the Abby Johnson biopic — LifeSiteNews learned that the largest distribution companies in Canada – Landmark, Cineplex, and Mongrel Media — have refused to let “Unplanned” play in theaters.
“In Canada, Cineplex basically has monopolistic power … the National Post mentions them as controlling nearly 80 percent of all movie screens, and from our limited experience, they seem to have many of the most desirable locations, in and near the major metropolitan areas,” Konzelman told LifeSiteNews in an email. “So rejection by Cineplex basically means we’re not playing in Canada.”
Mongrel Media, Canada’s largest distribution company, reportedly turned down the film for “content” reasons.
“What’s wrong with our content?” Konzelman asked in the email, noting that there is “nothing objectionable in the film; no foul language, no nudity, no sexuality, and the only violence is that which is necessarily connected with an abortion procedure.”
“It’s the pro-life message itself which is [found to be] objectionable,” Konzelman added.
Cineplex, the other major distributor, reportedly gave “unsatisfactory answers” when pressed on its decision to ban the film, according to Konzelman.
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.
Speaking to the pro-life community at Canada’s March for Life, Abby Johnson called on people to take action in response to the ban. “You gotta stop being so dang polite. Life is on the line,” she said. “Children are being killed, dismembered in their mothers’ wombs. There is nothing polite about abortion, and it is time for us to stop cowering to the liberal media, to your liberal parliament. Enough is enough.”
The blackballing of “Unplanned” has been ongoing since day one. Leading up to its release this past March, TV networks refused to run ads for the movie — often with similarly specious explanations. Lifetime, for instance, said it would not run ads due to the “sensitive nature of the film” — an obvious deflection, considering that Lifetime had previously promoted “an interview with Scarlett Johansson where she pitches Planned Parenthood,” according to marketers for “Unplanned.”
John Sullivan, a producer on “Unplanned” who also directed “2016: Obama’s America,” told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that money was there but the networks would not take their business. “We were looking to spend money, but they didn’t want to get involved,” he said.
Joe Knopp, another producer on “Unplanned,” said the networks were often vague in their reasoning. “Most of the networks didn’t go into detail beyond citing the subject matter of the film and that they didn’t want to get into politics. But we don’t believe we’re in the political category,” said Knopp.