Hollywood on Edge in London

AP Photo/Akira Suemori

Escalating violence in London has the industry holding its breath.

Rioters have looted and burned Sony's only U.K. depot for CDs and DVDs as the unrest begins to impact moviegoing in the city. Sony and Fox are monitoring the situation closely as they have films scheduled to open Aug. 12 in Britain: The Smurfs and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, respectively. As of press time, most theaters are staying open, but that could change if an expanded police presence doesn't calm the crowds. "We are open for business as usual and will notify of changes as advice is received from the police and local authorities," U.K. theater chain Vue Cinema said in a statement. Boutique chain Picturehouse Cinemas closed several houses Aug. 9, a night after the rioters hit the Sony warehouse. A rival studio executive in London tells THR he could see the smoke several miles away. Social media is helping to fuel the riots; the government talked about shutting down BlackBerry's BBM service because it can't be tracked by law enforcement. Shortly after, hackers attacked BlackBerry's website.          

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