Sony Cancels Release of 'The Interview'

The Interview Still 1 - H 2014
Ed Araquel

The Interview Still 1 - H 2014

The major U.S. theater chains pulled screenings of the Seth Rogen comedy after new threats from the hacker group surfaced

Sony has decided to pull The Interview from all theaters in response to the decision by the country's major chains not to show the film, which had been scheduled to open on Dec. 25.

"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," said a statement from the studio.

"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."

The language used in Sony's statement does leave the door open for The Interview to possibly be released later on. A source tells THR that Sony is undecided if they will pursue a theatrical release at a later date.

On Wednesday, the country's top five theater chains — Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment — chose to pull The Interview from their theaters after new threats from the hacker group implied that moviegoers would be in danger at screenings of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy.

After the new threats surfaced, Sony decided not to pull the film, but told exhibitors it was up to them whether or not they played it. Sony said it would support whatever decision they made.

Read more Sony Hack: Legal Risks for Years to Come

The latest note from the hacker group, which goes by the name "Guardians of Peace," was released Tuesday morning, stating: "The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places [that screen the film] at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)"

For the past two weeks, the Guardians of Peace have released thousands of private emails (many of them belonging to Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton) and other confidential information like Social Security numbers and financial information for actors.