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‘The Interview’ to open on Christmas Day in independent theaters

December 23, 2014 By Mary Frost and AP Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Actors Seth Rogen, right, and James Franco attend the premiere of the Sony Pictures' film "The Interview" in Los Angeles in December. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Tuesday a limited theatrical release of the film beginning Thursday, putting back into the theaters the comedy that prompted an international incident with North Korea. Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, File
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Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Tuesday that the film “The Interview” would be released to a limited number of theaters beginning on Christmas Day.

“The Interview” – the satirical film that prompted a devastating cyber-attack on Sony by North Korea — will be shown at independent theaters and the Alamo Drafthouse chain. The film had been pulled by Sony following the hack, prompting criticism from President Barack Obama.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said that Seth Rogen’s North Korea farce “will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day.” The film may also be shown on video on demand and online platforms.

“We have never given up on releasing ‘The Interview,'” Lynton said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”

Twitter and other social sites applauded the release, with numerous commenters asking where it would be playing.

An employee at Alpine Theatre in Bay Ridge told the Brooklyn Eagle Tuesday afternoon that the owner was in talks with a distributer. “We probably won’t know until later today,” he said.

BAM Rose Cinema, a major independent theater in Brooklyn, said it had no plans to show the film. Other theaters in Brooklyn were unsure or were unavailable for comment by press time.

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Erich Schwartzel, Sony told exhibitors Sony would need to be notified by 3 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday in order to receive a hard drive containing the film by Christmas Day.

“The president applauds Sony’s decision to authorize screenings of the film,” said Obama spokesman Eric Schultz. “As the president made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression. The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome.”

Seth Rogen, who stars in the film he co-directed with Evan Goldberg, said on Twitter, “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!”

Former talk show host Montel Williams tweeted back his congratulations, adding, “A terrorist regime doesn’t get to dictate what movies we see.”

“VICTORY!!!!!!!” said co-star James Franco. “The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken.”

North Korea’s Internet was shut down in an apparent attack Monday, and continued to be roiled by intermittent outages Tuesday, AP reported. That followed  Obama’s vow of a response to the North Korean cyber-attack. The White House and State Department have declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for North Korea’s outages.

After hackers last Wednesday threatened terrorist attacks against theaters showing the film, the nation’s major multiplex chains dropped “The Interview.” Sony soon thereafter canceled the film’s release altogether and removed mention of it from its websites.

The country’s top chains — Regal, AMC and Cinemark — didn’t comment Tuesday.

Sony did not immediately say how many theaters will show the film.

 


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