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 14-A rating in Alberta – with a disturbing content warning – 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, including
Abortion supporters have been targeting Landmark with harassing posts on its Facebook page.
Unplanned Canadian movie trailer: