The executive director of Planned Parenthood Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) told VOCM News her business will sponsor a showing of the film Mean Girls as a “fun alternative” to Unplanned, which is set to hit theaters across Canada Friday.
According to the report, Nikki Baldwin said Planned Parenthood NL had originally scheduled to protest Unplanned, the film that spotlights the story of former Planned Parenthood manager-turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson.
Instead, they decided to show the movie “Mean Girls” and provide what she calls a fun alternative to watching “Unplanned”.
Baldwin says “Unplanned” is controversial because of the way the information is presented. She says it amounts to propaganda and looks to limit people’s access to health care.
Many theaters have moved ahead with showing the U.S. film, despite police reports of death threats made to cinema theater owners in Canada who had scheduled to screen the movie.
Cineplex finally announced it is screening Unplanned. On Monday, Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob released a statement saying Canada’s largest movie theater chain would run the film at 14 theaters for a week beginning Friday.
Citing free speech, Jacob said, according to the Epoch Times, that while he struggled with the decision, he believes it is right to show the film.
“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,” he said, adding:
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.
The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada has called the film “a dangerous piece of anti-abortion propaganda,” reported the Times.
Katie Telford, chief of staff to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also took to Twitter to blast Conservative MPs in Parliament for encouraging the showing of Unplanned.
“This is happening, at least in part, thanks to the support received by federal Conservative politicians,” Telford wrote.
This is happening, at least in part, thanks to the support received by federal Conservative politicians.
— Katie Telford (@telfordk) July 5, 2019
Review of a 🎥 promoted by Conservative politicians:
— Katie Telford (@telfordk) July 11, 2019
BJ McKelvie, a pastor and president of Cinedicom, which is distributing the film in Canada, told Canadian Press theaters are preparing for protests.
“Some groups are saying that they’ll protest, and there’s a lot of people that will support,” he said. “We have one company that’s come under intense scrutiny, so he’s going to have security there. It’s The Movie Mill in Lethbridge, Alberta. It’s been unfortunate that he’s had a lot of threats, a lot of emails.”
According to Global News, ticket sales for Unplanned are “very brisk,” said a Chilliwack theater owner, despite the backlash “coming north of the border.”
Pauline Lamb, owner of Chilliwack’s Cottonwood Four Cinemas, said several evening screenings of the film have already sold out.
“We get requests every month for different movies and our criteria is when people are requesting movies, we do our best to bring them in,” said Lamb, speaking on CKNW’s The Lynda Steele Show.
“This movie has overtaken every request we’ve ever had,” she added. “We probably had around 50 requests for this movie since it was aired in the ‘States in March, we normally get four or five requests a month.”
A spokesperson for the Kelowna Right to Life Society also told Global News a private screening of the film arranged by the group sold out in nine minutes, while another screening in West Kelowna sold out in about two hours.