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Major Theater Chains Pulling 'The Interview' After Hackers' Threats

by
December 17, 2014

The Interview

It's been a tough few weeks for Sony Pictures. A group calling themselves Guardians of Peace hacked into the studio's network and stole terabytes of personal and private business documents, e-mails and more. The hack was seemingly initiated by North Korea in an effort to stop the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco's comedy The Interview, in which a talk show host and his producer try to assassinate the country's leader Kim Jong-un. They've been slowly leaking them with revelations of projects in development, some dastardly gossip garbage and more. But now they've taken things to another level with a threat of violence against any theaters who show the film, opening on Christmas Day, in the US. Read on!

Here's the message containing the threat in questions:

Warning

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.

Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.

The world will be full of fear.

Remember the 11th of September 2001.

We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.

(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)

Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

All the world will denounce the SONY.

The Interview

It's clear that this hacker group is running their threats through some kind of translation application, which makes their message simultaneously sound more menacing and hilarious. But they're starting to make real impact with regards to the marketing and release of the film. Seth Rogen and James Franco had already canceled all their publicity appearances on late night talks shows and whatnot after the threat was issued yesterday, and now The New York Times reports that Sony Pictures has told theaters chains that they can decline to book The Interview if they feel legitimately worried about these threats.

The Georgia-based Carmike theater chain has already decided not to show The Interview on any of their screens when it opens on Christmas Day, and the film's New York premiere, which was set for tomorrow at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema, has since been canceled. However, it's amusing to note that despite the threat against the premiere of the film, the world premiere of the comedy already went off without a hitch on December 11th. That fact combined with Homeland Security declaring that there's no credible threat against the country from these hackers seems to call bullshit on these so-called threats.

Honestly, this is a very fine line to walk, both for the movie studio and as audience members. On one hand, you don't want to let fear guide your decision to go to the movies. That's exactly what monsters like this want. Do the hackers really think they'll stop the movie from seeing the light of day? Are they going to kill anyone who comes into contact with this film? Not likely. But on the other hand, if even one theater ends up being attacked in this mess, then that's truly a tragedy, and neither the studio nor those potentially involved in some kind of incident would never live it down.

The Interview

As an alternative to this issue for Sony and those who want to see the movie but not feel threatened, The Verge has made a strong case to release the film online. This way it's available to people within the safety of their homes, and Sony can, "Take the threat of attacking theaters and diffuse it with the truth that the hackers don’t seem to understand: we live in a world where every living room, every computer, and every phone is a theater. And whether it’s leaked government documents or a goofy comedy from the Neighbors guy, nothing stays hidden for long."

They even make the case that releasing the film on iTunes or other VOD outlets could serve as a distribution experiment. The article says, "For years studios, theaters, and VOD services have butted heads over narrowing theatrical windows and release strategies: theaters want to have movies longer, while studios want to start collecting that VOD money as soon as possible. With many theaters already dropping out, why not take the most dangerous studio movie in the world and let audiences decide what they prefer?" That's not a bad idea at all, but it might be hard to negotiate that kind of release on short notice, and would likely just piss off the theaters who decide to still show the movie.

At the end of the day, we shouldn't let our lives be threatened by these people, especially when they are clearly full of empty threats and can only seem to cause damage from behind a computer screen. Where were these assholes when Team America: World Police came out? Is Kim Jong-un just that much bigger of a dickhead than Kim Jong-il? While I'll have stuff to do with my family on Christmas Day, you can bet your ass that I'll be heading to theaters to see The Interview, and I hope that the rest of the country decides to go out of their way to see it (unless raunchy comedy just isn't their thing). Anyway, if any other theater chains decide to pull The Interview from their screens, we'll be sure to let you know. Thoughts?

UPDATE: Looks like we won't be able to see The Interview on Christmas after all as The Wrap reports major theater chains Regal, AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex, Southern Theatres, B&B Theatres, ArcLight Cinemas, MJR Digital Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas have all decided to pull the film from its Christmas Day release.

UPDATE #2: Variety is reporting that the studio is looking at potentially giving the film a premium VOD release to help recoup some of the film’s $42 million budget, not to mention the money spent on marketing (though they're pulling the rest of the TV ads since people won't really have much access to the film now).

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  • ragethorn
    "You could get killed............walkin' yo doggie!" I believe Al Pacino said that in HEAT.
  • Jon Odishaw
    This could increase the hype around this film(which I feel is lacking compared to their previous endeavours.) Im not sold on this film yet but Im sure it will be good for a laugh.
  • TheOct8pus
    I really hope theaters (especially in bumblefuck places like Kentucky and Alabama) DON'T pull this movie. They would just be bowing to some empty threat and intimidation from a regime who can't even wipe its own ass. This is most likely a stupid, terrible movie, but we can't and shouldn't take anything North Korea has to say seriously.
    • mooreworthy
      (Wonder if I should tell Oct8 I live in Alabama...)
      • TheOct8pus
        Get outta here! They got's the internets in Alabammy?
        • mooreworthy
          Yep, dial up rocks! Whoa, hey mom, hang up the phone, I'm going to lose connect.......
  • TheOct8pus
    I hope they make a movie about this....
  • Tester
    This movie just made a billion dollars.. thank U North Korea
  • cooper
    leave it to a "terrorist" group to call themselves "Guardians of Peace" but threaten to use violence on innocent people
  • Chris Groves
    2014 is shaping up to be a pretty terrible year for Sony.
  • We're in a world of terrorz all da timez iz so scaries... :-( Sad facez
  • shane willett
    Sony PS4 is and game tech is all Sony should focus on - most of the Sony Classic movies are sub-par , or just okay! I think they should take a bullet on this one and give it out for free. The publicity for that would infuriate North Korea even more, and be a slap in the face. Im sure Rogen and Franco wouldn't care - they already cashed there "Interview" check.. making Sony looking like a fucking cool bad ass, if they did that. I mean really, who's going to go to the theater to have a Dark Knight Rises moment happen to them, and on Christmas Day... fuck that !
  • I'll definitely be adding this to my movie marathon on Christmas Day right behind Inherent Vice and before Big Eyes
  • Adam
    Clearly, Butt-Numb-A-Thon attendees made it out alive in Austin, TX so yeah...I think I'll be seeing THE INTERVIEW this Christmas. If I don't, than the terrorists have won.
  • I'll be seeing it. To paraphrase a beloved CGI raccoon bad-ass, Nobody's gonna dictate my movie going activity but me. So, fuck you, internet terrorists!
  • desispeed
    seems ridiculous...so if Disney was in the same predicament would studios ban Star Wars from being played?!! Hackers win
  • Me
    We will be scouring the land for a place to see the movie on Christmas Day if for no other reason to show that we don't bow down to this time of bully intimidation. Which ever movie theater does show this movie will make a bunch of money!!!
  • Bo
    All this over a movie geared to the mentality of a 2 yr. old? And made by people with the same mentality of, well, maybe a 4 yr. old who can sell this junk to 2 yr. olds? The naive and immature nature of fellow American capitalists sometimes amazes me. Any moron with half a brain knows that North Korea is a bad, bad place run by an evil lunatic. How can one be so stupid to think you could pull off something like this without repercussions? Sony and these buffoons Rogen and Franco started messing with the bull and now they're gettin' the horn! It is what it is and being in this situation has to come back to them for thinking they could do something as ill-advised and stupid as this. You go into the lion's cage you're gonna get mauled. You can whine about it all you want. Best to just not go into the lion's cage. And again, all for this mundane and idiotic movie for dunderheads? Man oh man...the lion is licking its chops at all the tasty dunderheads! Yea, this is a free country and we can do what we want which is why I live here. North Korea is not and does not behave and react in the way we do. Best to realize that and behave accordingly. Like stay far, far away from them and not try to prod them with stupid and silly movies designed for one reason and one reason only...to make a buck...at the expense of their insane and evil dictator. Stupid, stupid move!
    • Charles Knowlton
      You somehow just countered your own argument about 3 times in that post. Bravo!
      • Bo
        Sorry if it flew over your head, Charles. Pay attention and try again. Or, if you are one who likes these kinds of movies, best to just forget about me and my opinions. No harm, no foul. I hope you enjoy it when you go to see it. Make sure to wear body armor.
  • Ricardo_PT
    Sure, release the movie online, it could work out well for them. The marketing has been taken care of and people will watch it out of curiosity. Price it accordingly and enjoy the most profit you can
  • mooreworthy
    Didn't want to see it before in theaters, but dammit if I wouldnt show up wearing an American flag shirt with sparkles! Never back baby in a corner.
    • harm
      AND THE HOME. OF THE. BRAVE! lol. Screw the GOP.
  • The Walking Cuban
    The Stallone joke was funny but I ain't blowing up for this stupid looking movie or principles or whatever. The Kims are not gods, I just want them to know that, but I don't want anything to do with their nukes, thanks.
    • Bo
      Smart man! I'm with you on this one!
      • The Walking Cuban
        I don't like bending to the will of North Korea, but it's Franco, Rogen, and Sony, not me
        • Bo
          I understand. I don't think of it as 'bending to the will of North Korea'. This movie is an outright provocation to this crazy dictator and so it managed to successfully provoke a mad man. Now one must face the consequences of doing such a thing. It's like walking into the lion's den and provoking the lion then whining because he mauls your ass off! Gotta be smarter than that and avoid the nut jobs as well as the lions. Sony and Rogen and Franco are childish, immature buffoons and messed with the wrong country and guy...simple as that. Ain't no right and wrong here either. It just is what it is and intelligence dictates being able to see that.
          • The Walking Cuban
            Agreed. Charlie Chaplin did the Great Dictator, but that certainly didn't start the war. Wouldn't it be stupid if this movie started WWIII? You don't tease crazy people! That have nukes!
  • DAVIDPD
    Damn. This is sad. What a loss for every one involved.
  • harm
    Why can I not find any real source on this? Not that I don't trust movie blogs, but Sony's Press Website says nothing about it. None of the Theaters Chains websites say anything about it. Nothing...

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