Abby Johnson appeared at the National March for Life in Ottawa in April. Photo by Deborah Gyapong

Filmmakers explore distribution

By 
  • May 30, 2019

EDMONTON -- After much debate and controversy, Unplanned may yet be hitting theatres across Canada. 

Co-director Cary Solomon says the filmmakers are negotiating with distributors to bring the pro-life project to movie theatres in 10 to 20 Canadian cities. 

“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 during a May 24 news conference. 

Unplanned is based on the memoir of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who became a pro-life advocate. A recent Edmonton screening — which packed a 3,000-seat hall at the Edmonton Expo Centre  — played a major role in instigating the negotiations, organizers said.

“On the May 14th screening there were some influencers in the room, and the next morning conversations were already happening,” said Faytene Grasseschi, a pro-life advocate and television host based in Ontario. 

Cineplex, which owns the majority of theatres in Canada, said there are two requirements to add a film to its schedule: a distributor and a film classification.

“We would certainly discuss screening the film in Canada with any distributor that picks up the rights and covers the costs associated with theatrical distribution,” said Sarah Van Lange, Executive Director of Communications for Cineplex.

Solomon says the film has received a lot of censorship in the U.S, where TV networks have refused to show ads promoting it. Despite that, Unplanned exceeded expectations by earning $18 million after its release this spring, three times what it cost to make.

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