After being criticized by both the President of the United States and political leaders of his opposing party as well as the editorial boards of numerous countries, Sony Pictures has done an about face and will now release Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's “The Interview” in theaters on Christmas Day.
Reports indicate it will play in at least 100 independent theaters across the country. It is confirmed it will also be available on VOD.
In an official statement from the studio, Sony Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton remarked, “We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we”re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
“I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film”s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”
The comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, centers on a talk show host (Franco) who is recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea's Kim Jong-un while visiting his country for a rare interview. U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed that North Korea programmers hacked into Sony Pictures servers earlier this month which caused a number of embarrassing E-mails between the head of the studio, Amy Pascal, and talent to be leaked. Things gained nationwide and worldwide attention when the studio and theater owners pulled the film after the hackers threatened a “9/11” response if their demands for the release to be stopped were not made. Opposition to the move was immediate and the studio has faced incredible political pressure to find a solution.
The studio has not released a lit of theaters that will show it yet, but Drafthouse Cinemas and Laemmle Theaters are two chains that have been confirmed so far. Rogen and Franco chimed in on the good news.
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
VICTORY!!!!!!! The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!! SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters… http://t.co/0KyZQAB6cf
– James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) December 23, 2014
Added Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League in a statement:
Alamo Drafthouse will be playing THE INTERVIEW at multiple locations. Specific theaters and showtimes are currently being determined. Follow @Drafthouse for further announcements. Below please find a statement from Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League…
“We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organization they have been under attack. Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination. At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theaters across the country.
This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression.
Two days til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American.”