Sony Pictures has cancelled the release of The Interview and has no plans to release the film in any form, including on VOD or DVD. Please see important updates to the original report below.
U.S. theater chains have decided not to show The Interview when it opens December 25 after Sony Pictures received threats Tuesday of physical terrorism from the hacker group targeting it for making the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy.
Sony said they would not object to theaters opting to not screen their movie after the hackers made threats of 9/11-like attacks on those showing the film, which revolves around a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Carmike Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas have decided to drop The Interview. Earlier reports claimed ArcLight Cinemas was also dropping the movie, but the theater chain later took to social media to say it has yet to decide on whether or not to screen The Interview.
Landmark Theatres canceled hosting the premiere of the film that was scheduled Thursday night in New York City.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said “at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.”
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, “Neither the National Association of Theatre Owners or the two largest theater chains in the U.S., Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Theaters, have publicly spoken about the situation. But according to some insiders, exhibitors are wary of becoming liable if they show the movie and any violence occurs.”
UPDATE #1: The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) said in a statement that it’s basically up to cinemas if they want to show The Interview:
“The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. While we do not discuss security procedures or policies, NATO members are working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies. We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”
UPDATE #2: Variety reports that major exhibition chains Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex and AMC Theatres have also decided to not show The Interview, essentially meaning the movie won’t be seen now by a majority of North American audiences.
UPDATE #3: It’s official. Sony has announced that it’s canceled the December 25th release of The Interview. Variety claims that the studio is mulling a premium VOD release of the film instead in the hopes of recouping some of their $40+ million investment. Here is the 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 #4: According to Variety, a spokesman from Sony stated “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film”, which includes DVD or VOD. Many had speculated a VOD release might be forthcoming once Sony announced plans to cancel the film in theaters