Sony Pictures has announced that it will screen Vancouver native Seth Rogen’s The Interview as scheduled on Christmas Day.
It is a complete reversal to the studio’s decision last week when it announced that it was cancelling the the movie after most theatre chains in North America, including Cineplex, decided not to screen it. The initial decision was a reaction to threats of “9-11 style” terror attacks by a cyber hacker group known as the “Guardians of the Peace.”
The decision to pull the movie was widely criticized by the media, social media and President Barrack Obama, who called Sony’s decision “a mistake.” It was also confirmed that the government of North Korea was responsible for the threats and series of damaging hacks on Sony that leaked sensitive emails and five upcoming films.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” said Obama during a press conference. “If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing if they see a documentary they don’t like or news reports they don’t like… That’s not who we are. That’s not what America’s about.”
Obama also added that he wished Sony executives had spoken to him prior to making their decision.
Earlier this morning, co-director and star Rogen tweeted out that “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!”
However, at this time, the screenings will happen only in select theatres on Christmas Day. It is not known if major theatre chains such as Cineplex will screen the film now that all marketing and advertisement materials have been pulled down.
According to the New York Times, there are currently only expectations that 200 to 300 theatres are willing to screen the movie – down from the initial plan of 2,000 to 3,000 screens in North America.
In addition to the screenings, Sony might also continue with its plans to find a mainstream cable, satellite or online video distributor to syndicate the movie. However, these platforms are reportedly concerned that they will become hacking targets if they decide to add the movie to their collection.
The Interview cost US$44-million to produce, but that excludes tens of millions that were spent on marketing the movie around the world. The movie was filmed in and around the Vancouver region in the fall of 2013 and stars Rogen as Aaron Rapoport, James Franco as Dave Skylark, and Randall Park as Kim Jong-un.
The plot of the controversial political-comedy movie revolves around a covert CIA assassination of Kim Jong-un. A leaked 28-second clip, in slow motion, shows North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un leaning outside a helicopter door, watching his aircraft being hit and exploding into a great fireball.
“It says something interesting about North Korea that it decided to have the state mount an all-out assault against a satirical film starring Seth Rogen,” Obama quipped last week on the cancelation.
The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 23, 2014
Thanks to everyone who didn’t give up on our movie! @Sethrogen & I are humbled & overwhelmed by your support. Hope you enjoy the film!
— Evan Goldberg (@evandgoldberg) December 23, 2014
— Randall Park (@parkrandall) December 23, 2014
A photo posted by James Franco (@jamesfrancotv) on
Feature Image: Sony Pictures