Sony Pictures Entertainment, after sustaining weeks of abuse from hackers, has relented and cancelled the theatrical release of The Interview on Christmas Day because of terrorist threats made against movie theaters who would exhibit the film.
The move came after the nation's five largest theater chains said they wouldn't screen the film, citing safety concerns. Sony had originally said they would not be deterred by terrorists, but with no outlet for exhibiting the film, it appeared they have no choice.
The film is a comedy in which Seth Rogen and James Franco play American entertainers who are drafted into an assassination plot against North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.
“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” the studio said in a statement.
“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 proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they do 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.”
Creative professionals as well as alternative exhibitors like Alamo Drafthouse have taken to Twitter to express frustration with the outcome as well, and Alamo Drafthouse says they still have tickets on sale.