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Seth Rogen‘s Christmas wish came true.
The star, co-writer and co-director of The Interview — the political farce that ignited an international incident before nearly being shelved entirely by Sony — made an appearance at the movie’s first-ever theatrical screening at the Cinefamily, an independent theater in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district.
With him was Evan Goldberg, who co-directed and collaborated on the script with Rogen. The film’s third credited screenwriter, Dan Sterling, was not in attendance.
Read more ‘The Interview’ Released on VOD: Twitter Explodes With Reactions
“Thank you so f—ing much for coming,” a giddy Rogen told the sold-out crowd at a 12:35 a.m. screening early Christmas morning. “We thought this might not happen at all.”
“This is our neighborhood,” Goldberg added. “We live around here. … The fact that it’s showing here and you guys all came out…”
Rogen finished the thought: “Is super-f—ing exciting. So, we really wanted to say ‘thank you.’ If it wasn’t for theaters like this and for people like you guys, this literally would not be f—ing happening right now. So thank you.”
Outside the theater — which had publicly lobbied to show the film ever since the first major chain opted out of Sony’s original release plan — professional carolers sang in perfect four-part harmony, moviegoers dressed in combination Uncle Sam/Saint Nick costumes waved American flags, volunteers handed out cider, and TV news teams were virtually lined up to interview every arriving ticket-holder. Above the marquee was a huge American flag.
A female security guard and a parked police cruiser were the only testament to threats of mayhem made by allegedly North Korean-based hackers, although plenty of F-bombs made it inside.
Before Rogen and Goldberg appeared, Cinefamily screened a super-cut of violent scenes from decades’ worth of Christmas action movies. The theater’s executive director, Hadrian Belove, later explained to the crowd that he had created the montage as a Christmas card a few years ago.
“About halfway through, I thought, ‘Maybe this isn’t the right thing to be showing now,” Belove laughed. The audience tittered, having just sat through several unnerving minutes of terrorists launching missiles at families and people being gunned down at Christmastime.
Read more Amy Adams on Canceled ‘Today’ Interview: I Was “Confused” and “Frustrated”
Wednesday’s surprise VOD release on YouTube, Google Play and Microsoft’s Xbox Video meant fans and supporters of free speech — President Obama among them — could see the film from the comfort of their homes for $5.99, though streaming was slow and glitchy.
Because of that online release, the five major chains that initially refused to screen the film over threats made by the hacking entity Guardians of Peace — AMC Entertainment, Regal Entertainment, Cineplex Entertainment, Carmike Cinemas and Cinemark — have opted not to show the film.
Read more Starz Releases ‘The Interview’ From Sony Output Deal
Despite the streaming option, Rogen nevertheless implored fans to make the effort to see the controversial comedy in one of over 300 independent cinemas across the country screening The Interview on Christmas Day.
“A comedy is best viewed in a theater full of people,” he tweeted Wednesday. “So if you can, I’d watch it like that. Or call some friends over.”
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