UPDATE (5:15 PM): Sony has canceled the scheduled December 25 release of James Franco and Seth Rogen’s new film “The Interview after the top five theater circuits in the U.S. announced they would not be screening the film.
The top five theater circuits in the U.S. will not be showing James Franco and Seth Rogen’s new film “The Interview” amid threats from the Sony hacking group promising a 9-11 scenario for theaters that do not capitulate.
Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film, a comedy centered around Franco and Rogen’s bumbling attempts to assassinate North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jun-Un, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The change in heart came after the hacking group issued a threat to theaters planning to show “The Interview.”
“Remember the 11th of September 2001,” the message says. “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
Despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security said they have not received a “credible threat,” theater chains weren’t taking any chances. Speaking to ABC, former White House counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke said:
Somebody is playing mind games with [Sony]. I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it’s coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony’s revenue.
Sony previously told theater owners that any prior commitments to show the film would not have to be honored because of the ongoing situation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres,” Regal said in a statement to THR Wednesday.
The National Association of Theater Owners, the trade association that represents theater owners nationwide, made a statement, saying that “individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”
Whether theater owners give any credence to the terror threats, the Association’s acknowledgement that public fears over attending a theater showing “The Interview” could impact other films released over the holidays and individual theater’s holiday revenue means many may take the safe option and not screen it.