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Sony Pulls Release of ‘The Interview’ Following Threats

Sony Pictures decided on Wednesday not to release the controversial film “The Interview” in theaters on Christmas Day. The Culver City studio’s decision followed news that the largest theater chains in the United States had decided not to play to film until the conclusion of an FBI investigation into a cyberattack on the studio and terrorist threats linked to the film. Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Carmike Cinemas Inc., had all dropped out by Wednesday afternoon, in addition to several smaller theater chains. “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,” Sony Pictures said in a statement. The comedy stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as idiotic celebrity journalists who are enlisted by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an interview. The movie was denounced by the communist country and cited by hackers who have unleashed a cyberattack that has resulted in the embarrassing release of confidential studio executive salaries and emails. The situation got even worse for Sony when the threat of an attack on movie theaters was made in emails sent to various news outlets Tuesday morning. “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.),” read a version posted by The Hollywood Reporter. Sony is considering releasing the film on premium video-on-demand instead, an insider told Variety. “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,” Sony Pictures said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

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