After the five largest theater chains in the U.S. backed out of showing Sony’s The Interview due to a terrorist threats from a hacking group, the studio has now decided to pull the film from its scheduled December 25 release date altogether.
The film, a comedic take on a fictional assassination plot on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been fraught with controversy in recent weeks. The hacking group that calls itself the Guardians of Peace has disclosed details on everything from Sony employee social security numbers and salaries, emails between Sony executives, and plot details of upcoming films. It has been speculated that the group has ties to North Korea, though that is yet to be confirmed. Earlier this week, the group released a statement threatening violence against exhibitors showing the film in their theaters.
As a result Sony said that they were planning to move forward with the film, but it was up to the individual theaters whether or not to show the film as scheduled. In the interim, the studio curtailed TV advertising and cancelled several press appearances by stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. Now, after the major theater chains have all backed out, the studio has decided to pull the plug. The studio’s statement is below:
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.”
Keep checking back here for more updates as they develop.