‘The Interview’ Will Get Limited Christmas Day Release After All

The poster for The Interview starring James Franco and Seth Rogen (detail).


An embattled Sony Pictures has reversed its decision to cancel the planned Christmas day release of The Interview, the Seth Rogen and James Franco film that angered North Korea over its depiction of the assassination of Kim Jong-Un. The picture will open at a limited number of independent theaters on Christmas Day, December 25.

The planned release of the movie triggered the hacking of Sony corporate emails by Guardians of Peace, a North Korean group. When they next threatened to physically attack theaters that screened the film, industry support for the comedy dwindled, and Sony pulled the picture (see “Sony Cancels The Interview Release Following Terrorist Threats“). The company was widely criticized for the decision, with President Obama warning in a statement that “we cannot have a society in which some dictators someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

Late last week, Sony released a statement explaining that they couldn’t have very well released a movie when all the movie theater chains were refusing to screen it. “We have not given in. And we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie,” Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told CNN.

In response, art house theaters began voicing their support for the film, and their desire to show it (see “Art House Theaters Petition to Screen The Interview“), and the necessary arrangements were made. “We are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech,” said Lynton in a statement today, adding that “we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

“The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!” an ecstatic Rogen Tweeted this afternoon. “The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!”

Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, released a statement calling the theater’s ability to show the film “the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. . . .We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression.”

Given the last-minute green light for the formerly blacklisted film, small theaters such as the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, New York, are scrambling to find a free screen to show The Interview on an already-packed Christmas schedule. In a phone call with artnet News, the theater expressed their hope that they would be able to add a late-night showing to their already-announced weekly programming.

Theaters in Georgia, Virginia, and Texas have already Tweeted their decision to show the film, and Sony expects to release a full announcement of scheduled screenings shortly.

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