When Unplanned, the story of abortion-worker-turned-pro-life-activist Abby Johnson,premiered in March in the U.S., Canadians were left wondering when they would be allowed to see the movie. Some pro-lifers organized boycotts and petitions of theatre chains that refused to bring the movie to a Canadian audience. Johnson told the National March for Life audience in Ottawa they were close to getting a distribution deal in Canada.
When the movie was finally released in Canada in July, it was met with enthusiasm from the pro-life movement and major backlash from the leftist movement, media and especially the Trudeau government. Despite all the criticism, lack of advertising, and protests, the movie had a great week and had the second-highest per-screen average behind the new Spiderman movie bringing in $352,510 at 49 theatres that reported revenue over opening weekend. The sales were also tremendous during the week with a whopping $112,000 on Wednesday, a strong midweek showing. Despite the success, most theatres stopped showing the movie after a single-week run, although a number of theatres extended the showings for more than a week.
Prior to its arrival in Canada, Unplannedwas denounced by pro-abortion groups such as the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, which called it “propaganda.” Even Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford and Tourism Minister Melanie Joly chimed in claiming that “the film was spreading misinformation,that is linked to far-right propaganda that we see in the U.S.” Trudeau’s chief of staff went so far as to tweet about the arrival of the movie and blamed it on the Conservatives who were promoting it.
The only Conservative politician to mention the movie was Brad Trost, who attended the screening of the movie on Parliament Hill in April and tweeted that Unplannedwas “incredible and that the movie needs to be screened across the country.”
Prior to comments by Telford and other Liberals, Unplannedreceived almost no attention from the mainstream media in Canada, but their comments gave the movie publicity. Campaign Life Coalition Youth coordinator Josie Luetke said in a press release, “The opposition to this movie by pro-abortion politicians and abortion activists has been a great indicator that they are terrified of the movie’s power to influence public opinion.”
Unplanned is now available on DVD and will be premiering in other countries, such as South Korea and Thailand, this fall.