Seth Rogen and James Franco’s new comedy film The Interview depicts a faux CIA operation to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. In response, a group of hackers calling themselves Guardians of the Peace, who are possibly connected to North Korea’s government, hacked into Sony Pictures’ computer system and leaked thousands of sensitive documents containing information on employee salaries, upcoming film projects, and more. Now, as the film’s December 25th theatrical release nears, Guardians of the Peace has warned of “9/11”-esque violence at movie theaters that screen the film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, America’s five biggest theater chains are taking these threats seriously and have decided not to screen The Interview. “Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres,” Regal said in a statement. AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment have also decided against showing the film.
Update – 5 p.m.: Sony has canceled the film’s release, saying in a 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 – 6 p.m.: According to The New York Times, US officials have identified North Korea as the source responsible for the cyberattack against Sony.
Sony is considering a video-on-demand release of The Interview, according to Variety.
Below, watch the film’s latest teaser trailer.