Following yesterday's threatening message from the Sony Pictures hackers, the studio has cancelled the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview” in cinemas. Earlier this morning, the permiere in New York was also pulled.
In announcing the decision to cancel the holiday debut, Sony hit back at the hackers who threatened movie theaters and moviegoers and who have terrorized the studio and its employees for weeks.
“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.”
According to Variety, the studio did not say it would never release the picture theatrically. Insiders tell Variety Sony is exploring all options, including offering the picture on premium video-on-demand as a way to recoup at least some of its investment.
Before the movie was pulled, the National Association of Theatre Owners released their only official statement on the matter saying that theaters are working with law enforcement agencies to tighten security procedures, adding that its members would make their own calls about whether to release the film.
“The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. While we do not discuss security procedures or policies, NATO members are working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies. We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, 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.”