Major U.S. Theaters Drop ‘The Interview’ After Sony Hacker Threats

The Interview Randall Park

Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex, and AMC Entertainment will delay or drop “The Interview” after Sony Pictures Entertainment hackers posted a message threatening movie theaters and moviegoers who attend screenings of the satire.

They represent four of the five largest chains, and join Bow Tie Cinemas and Carmike in deciding not to show the picture. More theater circuits are expected to follow suit.

In addition, Southern Theatres, B&B Theatres, Wehrenberg Theatres and ArcLight Cinemas have opted to pass on the film. Michigan-based MJR Digital Cinemas said it will likely not play the picture, although CEO Michael Mihalich said that could change if the security situation around the picture improves in coming days.

Sony Pictures still plans to make the film available, but has told theater chains it will support them if they choose not to show the picture.

“It’s much less of a big deal to pull the film than it is to risk something happening,” said Eric Wold, an exhibition industry analyst with B. Riley and Company. “It makes no sense for a theater to choose to show this movie.”

The Department of Homeland Security released a statement this week saying that there was no evidence of an active plot against movie theaters, but exhibitors are worried about legal liability if violence breaks out at one of the film’s screenings. There is also the possibility that the hackers’ message might inspire copycat attacks, according to knowledgable insiders.

Some analysts believe that North Korea has been involved in the devastating cyber-attack on Sony as retaliation for “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the hackers.

Hackers have leaked internal company documents, salary information, budget details and the social security numbers of thousands of Sony’s past and present employees.

In a message Tuesday, hackers wrote: “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

Other chains contacted by Variety such as Celebration! Cinemas and Malco Theatres said they had yet to reach a final decision.

More to come…

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  1. all is media coverage…. more of the same!!

  2. John says:

    Am I the only one who has been thinking that a large part of the problem is the idea that our legal system would allow the theaters to get sued if they showed a film that led to a terrorist attack? How is this BS not mentioned more?

  3. Hunter says:

    Not a bad situation for Sony. They’ve mitigated the risk of any actual terrorist situation (which was probably low to begin with, outside of opportunists) and have a solid chance of getting HUGE numbers on VOD. We’ve all heard of the successes of films like Margin Call and Snowpiercer on VOD, but honestly, this will probably be the biggest VOD success story in history due to unprecedented awareness of the film and the thinly veiled sense of patriotism, first amendment staunchness, and/or jingoism that accompanies the film’s at-home presentation. How meta can this get?

  4. Dean says:

    Sony is getting what it deserves. You shouldn’t make movies that attempt to find humor in the prospect of murdering any actual currently-living human being, no matter who he/she is. Grow up. The crashing and burning of this film is a rare moment of poetic justice in our pathetic popular culture. (What a crying shame that fans of infantile “humor” will be deprived of this “art.” Boo friggin hoo.)

    • madsteve says:

      if this was the 1930s would you defend hitler the same way you do kim? seth rogen is trying to bring to light the same kinds of things ‘the dictator’ movie did a few years ago, very dumb people like you who have convinced themselves they are smart are too dumb to even notice, the fact that people (though few thankfully) think its ok for another country to censor content to not only its own people but the world is honestly more terrifying to then any act any terrorist could do with any bomb, your ok being a scared lil flock of sheep? why even live?, a few sayings that if you disagree with i honestly feel sorry for you
      ‘its better to die on your feet then live on your knees’
      ‘anyone that would trade liberty for security deserves nither’

  5. Jeff Hobbs says:

    Hunt the hackers down and throw their sorry adzes in the slammer for making overt terrorists threats. I take their threats personally, as anyone should.

  6. Jona says:

    I go to the movies twice a year because of low value for the money. But I would subject myself to this crummy plot just to show DPRK can’t tell us what not to see.

  7. vp19 says:

    This isn’t “the terrorists winning” or “First Amendment rights” or anything to that effect; it’s simply two snotty frat boys (Rogen and Franco) getting what’s theirs for being provocateurs and for Sony for not telling them no before it got anywhere close to this point.

  8. Pussies and Cowards all of them! I may never go to a theater again! It is unbelievable that the exhibition industry is cowering to a bunch of Cyber Bullies and Punks! What happened to America Home of the Free and the BRAVE?

  9. Marshall Silverman says:

    This is obviously not about preventing people from seeing the movie. The hackers themselves put it up on the internet where it has generated millions of hits and file shares. This is actually a power play to demonstrate how hard the strings of the American people can be yanked, and no doubt terrorists everywhere are watching with intense interest.

  10. witzshared says:

    So they won. We’ve become a nation of cowards and the loss of freedom of creativity. I guess Chaplin wouldn’t be allowed to make “The Great Dictator” in today’s world.

  11. madsteve says:

    has this ever happened before? really i dont know i looked a lil very quick but couldnt find one cancelled because of a threat, unreal, ill be first in line at whatever theatre grows a spine in toronto

  12. I only have Regal and Carmike theatres in my town. I’d like to support the film and do my small part to tell the hackers to go f#@k themselves. It’s a shame these chains are so afraid of lawsuits on the slim to none chance of an attack that they cave in like a house of cards.

  13. Sensible Art says:

    A comedy about assassinating a world leader is not a comedy but an insult to intelligence. If this movie was about killing President Obama or the Queen of England or the Prime Minister of Israel or the Pope, would you all be lining up defending it. I don’t think so. Long live Freedom of Speech!

    • cardmarc58 says:

      There have been plenty movies and TV shows built around the idea of assassinating the leader of a country, so obviously you have no sense of humor, but do have an agenda.

    • How can you equate the leader of any democratic government to this ass clown dictator whose Father gave him his dictatorship. This is a comedy not a serious movie. Kim Jung Un invites other clowns like Dennis Rodman for State visits! He is a joke on the World Stage! You my friend are an idiot!

  14. DSykes says:

    Wow, cowards one and all.

  15. pouletnoir says:

    It would be nice to hear of a movie theatre owner who had a spine.

  16. JonVY says:

    Legally, some Con-Law experts could call this a case of censorship. In criminal law, it could be called extortion.

  17. Dave says:

    I’m definitely going to see this movie now as these threats would make the experience much more exciting!

    • Lowell C. Johnson says:

      I definitely want to see it now….this is too un____king-believable….America has never caved in to terrorist threats..It’s just a movie for chrissakes….

  18. Jacques Strappe says:

    As much as this movie looks like a real stinker as far as entertainment goes, I wanna see it now just to piss off North Korea.

  19. EK says:

    This entire problem was brought about by the amazingly bonehead decision to make an assassination movie about killing a live, sitting national leader. This is not Air Force One or even Argo. It would have been so easy to make the target a fictional representation of an Asian leader and get close enough to make the comedic point. But NO! Instead chose to make an openly antagonistic movie mocking an acknowledged unbalanced terrorist and this is what you get. Sorry Amy, you goofed badly and now ALL your decisions are called into question, not the least of which is allowing your husband to de facto fire your media exec over a petty non issue.

    • EK you are so brave hiding behind your anonymous screen name taking shots at Amy Pascal’s creative decisions. How many films have you made? How many scripts of yours have been rejected by Sony? Come on out and give us your name since you are such a brave individual. Feedom of speech doesn’t give you the right to take negative shots at powerful people anonymously! You are a loser!

  20. Jacques Strappe says:

    “So happy to see that the very people in Hollywood who are constantly screaming about First Amendment rights buckle so quickly…”

    This isn’t “liberal” Hollywood buckling, it’s the conservative corporate giants that run the movie chains.

  21. frank speakly says:

    Where does it end? If someone threatens an attack because a gay themed movie is set to premiere, is that politically correct to pull? So happy to see that the very people in Hollywood who are constantly screaming about First Amendment rights buckle so quickly and easily when threatened by hackers from a third world country. What an embarrassment! On the other hand, if only we could threaten the same for every Adam Sandler or Micheal Bay movie before they ever reached a theater… Lets make sure that moving forward we never produce anything that might be controversial, political, or does anything to antagonize our enemies. Well played Hollywood, well played!

  22. Jon says:

    Wow. I’m incredibly saddened and ashamed to see our theaters pull this movie. This is the reaction to fear mongering fascists-terrorists? How about we stand up for what we believe in and what this country was founded upon. What an embarrassing victory for totalitarianism and those that would oppress free speech and free expression. No person or topic is above comment, criticism or scrutiny. I’m going to watch this movie at least twice and recommend it to everyone I know.

  23. Michael Anthony says:

    My guess us that they are not worried about terrorism, but a nutcase like the gunman in Sydney, doing something. Huge liability if that was to happen.

    I want the feds to track down who started this. This group just influenced the entire country. Which makes us look like cowards. I don’t care who it is, go after them. If it is NK, China needs to be warned to take them down. Otherwise we will. After all, China controls NK.

  24. Herb Lore says:

    We are a nation of cowards.

  25. Put it on Apple TV? On-Demand? This is wacky.

  26. Bunch of wusses!! Show the movie and let Americans decide whether or not they want to take the chance to see it!! I want to see it!

  27. Unbelievable. Now how do I support a mediocre movie?

  28. This might be a rare time for Sony to try a rare marketing idea:
    Make a deal with Satellite and Cable and show it “On Demand”.
    JUst keep advertising it and have Rogan and Franco keep doing the rounds.
    You wont have to share any of the $$ with the theaters now with all the free publicity.

  29. LOL says:

    Way to go letting the terrorists win.

    It must now be the mandatory duty of every patriotic American to see this movie next week. Take your kids, grans, cousins, step-dads and fellow Americans to see The Interview on opening night. Let’s turn it into a blockbuster and show these commies what we’re made of.

  30. I'll watch it says:

    put it out on pay for view TV or just take the loss and put it on the internet. The more people who see this, the less fear the Norkors can manifest.

  31. jason says:

    Shame on those cinemas. To let a hacker decide what americans view. So much for the home of the brave….

  32. Spike says:

    Pascal and Lynton, it’s time for you to resign. Your boss in Tokyo would agree with me. Just count yourselves lucky you don’t have to commit hara-kiri. Now get the hell out of your offices and make room for someone with the brains not to antagonize a rogue nation. What were you idiots thinking?

  33. Ed says:

    The best way to win against terrorism, is to stand up to terrorist. Backing down from them does nothing more than give them a victory and make them stronger.

  34. Concerned Moviegoer says:

    SONY needs to PULL THIS MOVIE NOW. If one person gets injured at any theater in the country, both Sony and the theater could be liable for millions of dollars. The problem is we don’t know enough of this nutcase in North Korea. He could easily pay some gangbanger or Russian mobster to put a ‘hit’ on a theater with a bomb. North Korea has been known to hire hitmen using diamonds as a currency. Very serious situation here.

    • Jerry says:

      You watch too many movies lol. There’s no reason for the theaters to pull the movie, nothing will happen.

      • Zoey says:

        How do you know for sure? Are you already forgetting how people were gunned down in a theater showing ‘The Dark Knight Rises’?

        To those of you making blanket statements, have you ever been in a face-to-face situation with a terrorist? It’s so easy to make judgements sitting in the safety of your homes, but the truth of the matter is, the decision is not up to you.

        Theater owners are business people, and they are not in the business of risking their customers’ safety or lives. ‘The Interview’ was a bad decision from the get-go. And the reviews confirm that it’s not even worth the bother. We need to choose our battles wisely. By being reactive, you’re doing exactly what those hackers want. You’re letting them push your buttons.

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