‘The Interview’ is pulled from cinema release by Sony

Seth Rogen’s The Interview will not be released next week as planned, Sony Pictures Entertainment has confirmed.

Sony’s decision to pull the film comes after six major cinema chains in North America vowed not to show Seth Rogen’s controversial new comedy The Interview in the wake of a terror threat.

Film conglomerate Sony Pictures Entertainment said on Wednesday (December 17): “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the 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.”

The Interview has been embroiled in controversy over the last month, due to its impact on a cyber attack levied against Sony in November.

A group known as ‘Guardians of Peace’ recently took responsibility for a hack attack that breached Sony’s computer systems, with the group claiming that it was motivated by objections to Rogen’s comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A statement from Guardians of Peace released yesterday (December 16) invoked the 9/11 terror attacks in warning cinemas not to screen The Interview when it opens on Christmas Day (December 25) in the US.

Carmike was the first cinema chain to drop plans to exhibit the movie, with Canada’s Cineplex following suit. Bow Tie Cinemas, AMC, Regal and Cinemarkl pulled the movie from their schedules for next week as well on Wednesday.

Cinema boycotts were announced shortly after The Interview‘s New York premiere was cancelled, and stars Rogen and James Franco abandoned their media tour.

Rogen spoke about his shock at the hostile reaction to The Interview in one of his final press interviews before the cancellation on Good Morning America.

“I know that it has been the centre of a lot of media attention lately,” he said. “It is weird because we just wanted to make a really funny, entertaining movie and the movie itself is very silly and wasn’t meant to be controversial in any way.”

North Korea has denied being involved in the massive Sony hack, but previously threatened “merciless retaliation” if the film was released.

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