Sony cancels December 25 release of 'Interview' after theaters bail

Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:02pm EST
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By Eric Kelsey, Lisa Richwine and Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures on Wednesday canceled the Dec. 25 theatrical release of its North Korea comedy "The Interview," after major U.S. theater chains pulled out of showing the film following threats from hackers.

Regal Cinemas and AMC Theaters were among the cinema chains announcing they will not show "The Interview" as planned on Dec. 25, citing security threats by hackers that breached Sony Corp's computers.

The move is the clearest sign of the widening influence of the hackers who have also leaked Sony documents that drew global headlines, and now have forced a change of plans for a Christmas Day movie release for thousands of screens.

"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 with the planned December 25 theatrical release," Sony said in a statement.

The studio said it was "deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company."

It said it stood by the film makers of "The Interview," a comedy about two hapless journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Representatives for Rogen and Franco, who canceled numerous scheduled appearances this week, did not respond to requests for comment.

Hackers who claimed responsibility for seizing control and leaking data from Sony's computers last month, on Tuesday warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film, and reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on the United States.   Continued...

Signage posted on the box office window at the Sunshine Cinema in New York December 17, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly