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Sony to show ‘The Interview’ in some cinemas
From the Financial Times of Tue, 23 Dec 2014 19:08:22 GMT

Sony Pictures will release The Interview in a limited number of theatres on Christmas Day after earlier scrapping the film’s planned release following a hacking attack and threats on cinemas.

The $42m comedy about a farcical assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has become the centre of turmoil at the studio that has escalated into a geopolitical controversy.

The US government believes North Korea, where the film has sparked outrage, was behind the Sony hacking that leaked vast amounts of employees’ personal data and emails of senior Sony Pictures executives. North Korea has responded to the accusation by threatening attacks on the US.

Sony’s announcement comes a week after the people claiming credit for the hack issued threats to the film’s audiences, invoking September 11, 2001. That prompted the US’s five largest cinema chains to cancel screenings.

Sony called off the opening, drawing criticism from Hollywood actors and screenwriters as well as US President Barack Obama, who called the cancellation “a mistake”. The company responded that it was the theatre owners’ decision.

On Tuesday, Michael Lynton, Sony Pictures chief executive, said the limited screenings were “only the first step of the film’s release” and that Sony was working to find more theatres and platforms, suggesting The Interview could also be released on a video-on-demand service.

“We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theatres on Christmas Day,” Mr Lynton said.

Two independent theatres — Atlanta’s Plaza Atlanta and the Austin, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse chain — said on Twitter they would show the film. The Alamo Drafthouse’s Dallas location has begun selling tickets online.

Carmike Cinemas, the fourth-largest US cinema chain, said it had not changed from its position last week that it would delay showing the film. The other five big chains — Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Cineplex Entertainment — could not be reached for comment.

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