Sony Officially Cancels the Planned Christmas Release of ‘The Interview’
UPDATE #3: Sony Pictures have now clarified that there will be no VOD release of the film, contrary to an earlier report from this afternoon which said the studio was considering this release strategy. In a brief statement given to THR, Sony said:
Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film.
It appears that, as of now, ‘The Interview’ will not be made available to the public.
UPDATE #2: Sony Pictures has now canceled the planned December 25 release of ‘The Interview’ in theaters following the decision from the theater owners. Here is their full statement:
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter has learned from sources that all five of the country's largest movie theater chains—Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment—have decided against showing ‘The Interview’ following the threats of terrorism issued by the hacker group, Guardians of Peace. So far, only Carmike has publicly commented on the decision, but official word from each company is expected shortly.
The original story continues below...
Following today’s release of a message sent from the mysterious group responsible for the massive Sony hack, the company has now informed theater owners that they can opt out of screening ‘The Interview’ if they are concerned about the terrorist threat. Although the Department of Homeland Security responded by saying they could find “no credible info” on planned attacks, Sony has decided to place the decision to screen the film in the hands of theater executives.
Earlier today, a message from the group known as Guardians of Peace was translated, revealing that the people responsible for the Sony hacking are threatening a terrorist attack comparable to 9/11. Here’s part of that message:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Neither Sony nor the National Association of Theater Owners have released a formal statement, but according to THR, Sony has informed theater owners that they may cancel screenings of ‘The Interview’ if they are concerned about the threat. Sony will support the theaters regardless of the decision they choose, which some feel is irresponsible, given that this is Sony’s film and they should ultimately be making the decision.
Theater owners have also reportedly requested increased security if they choose to screen the film, which hits theaters on Christmas Day. In an interview with ABC, Richard Clarke, a cyber security expert and former counter-terrorism advisor to the White House tried to soothe fears following the group’s threatening message:
Somebody is playing mind games with [Sony]. I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it’s coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony’s revenue.
An anonymous theater executive spoke with Deadline about the precautions they are taking at their theater, which still intends to screen the film:
Our first call was to the chief of police to get his assessment of the terrorist threat level. He concurred with what is being reported in the media; the threat of terrorist action is extremely low. That said, the police department will be doing a security briefing with our managers and staff so that everyone is on the lookout for any suspicious behavior.
It remains to be seen just how many theater owners and chains will opt out of showing ‘The Interview,’ but Sony doesn’t appear to be the only studio worried about the threat: a rival studio executive told THR that they feel “this is bad for everyone.”
‘The Interview’ may or may not be released by your local theater on December 25.