The anti-abortion propaganda movie Unplanned opened in over 30 Canadian cities this weekend, making $345,000 USD (about $450,000 CAD) in ticket sales across North America, according to Tribute.ca, which tracks box office sales. (It’s safe to assume most of these sales took place in Canada because the movie came out in the U.S. on March 29 and there are no ticket sales listed since April 19.) And while Unplanned didn't earn nearly as much as the weekend's box-office leader, Spider-Man: Far From Home, which netted $45.3 million USD, it did beat out the Mindy Kaling comedy Late Night, which opened a month ago and took in $334,642 USD.
Cineplex, Canada’s largest chain of theatres, is playing the movie at 14 of its 1,700 theatres across the country, a decision the company has defended as freedom of expression. Another 30 or so independent cinemas have also picked up the title, according to BJ McKelvie, president of Cinedicom, the Fredericton, NB-based company distributing the Christian studio backed film in Canada.
Refinery29 reached out to Cineplex for details on the opening weekend, but the company declined to comment. “As Cineplex is a publicly traded company, we are unable to share information regarding ticket sales for a specific movie, location, or theatre,” a representative said.
Unplanned is based on the memoir of American anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson. She was a director of a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic when she was asked to assist in an abortion and says she saw a fetus at 13-weeks gestation “fighting for its life,” which is shown in gory and entirely inaccurate detail in the movie. A fetus does not feel pain until at least 24 weeks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Grassroots protests were held on opening night at theatres across the country. Claire LeBlanc was one of 20 people who handed out pamphlets detailing the scientific inaccuracies in the movie at the Cineplex theatre at Yonge and Dundas streets in downtown Toronto. “The movie was engineered as a political tool… it was created to try and initiate a change and promote and anti-choice legislation,” she said.