Just one day after the hacker group Guardians of Peace (G.O.P.) threatened a 9/11 attack on movie theaters showing The Interview, Sony Pictures has announced today that they are pulling the comedy from theaters. This comes just hours after an unconfirmed report revealed that Sony is considering a premium VOD release for the comedy, after a majority of theater chains decided not to show the film, which was scheduled for release on Christmas Day. Take a look at the official statement from Sony Pictures below.
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. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers. Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale - all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. 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. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
It remains to be seen whether or not Sony will move forward with the previously reported premium VOD plan, or if the studio will simply move the comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, to an unspecified date in 2015. Following the G.O.P.'s initial warning, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a statement that there was no credible evidence that an attack on U.S. movie theaters is happening. Still, later that day, Sony gave exhibitors the option of whether or not they wanted to release the movie in their theaters, with a number of exhibitors, including the top five theater chains in the country (Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment) announcing shortly thereafter they plan on either delaying the release or pulling the film altogether.