Sony Hack: NATO Says Theater Owners Must Decide Individually on ‘Interview’ Showings

The Interview Seth Rogen James Franco

In the wake of a threatening message from the Sony Pictures Entertainment hackers, the National Association of Theatre Owners said that theaters are working with law enforcement agencies to tighten security procedures.

In its first public statement on the threats, the exhibition industry lobbying arm said that a criminal investigation into the cyber-security breach at Sony was progressing, but said its members would make their own calls about whether to release the film.

“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,” the group’s statement reads. “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.”

So far, Carmike Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas have opted not to screen “The Interview.” Sony Pictures has told exhibitors that they plan to release the film, but will support their decision if they opt not to screen it in their theaters.

Sony has been reeling for weeks since hackers broke into the studio’s computer system and stole internal documents, budgets, salary details and the personal information of thousands of employees. The documents and records were subsequently leaked online, setting off a firestorm of media coverage.

Tuesday’s message accompanied another data dump. It threatened violence on theaters that showed “The Interview” and people who attend screenings.

“The world will be full of fear,” the message reads. “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.”

“The Interview” is a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. There has been speculation that the country may be involved in the hacking as retaliation for the film, though it has denied involvement.

Here’s the full statement:

“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.”

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  1. JOE S HILL says:

    While i see many here,who are pissed-off by Sony’s decision to remove “THE INTERVIEW”,i personally think that that was the smartest thing for this studio to do! but the attitudes that i’ve seen on many posts
    today,seem to be of angry and arrogant tones,,why? because of the decision to cancel this movie’s release? this may have also saved lives,here! but obviously,that’s not good enough,,and really,,that’s just Too Bad! i’m certainly not saying that these Cyber Terrorist Hackers were right in what they did,because
    they threatened both Sony,its studio people,and even Theater businesses,if they showed this stupid movie,which,by the way,is exactly that-A STUPID MOVIE! while we may have the creative freedoms in our country to do whatever we like,just remember that that sentiment is NOT sharred in all countries-including North Korea! we may all whine and bitch at how Terrorists managed to undermine our own right
    to go to the Box Office,but for the moment,there hasn’t been any fatalities over that,yet! but a comedy,over a pair of idiots,being pushed by the CIA to take out Kim Jong Un,,that’s seriously STUPID!
    i don’t think the world of Seth Rogen,because he’s neither funny,nor does he have any Talent,other then playing idiots! but to provoke an international incident,and with a Communist run country like North Korea,
    is seriously and dangerously STUPID beyond compare! if Un hates Americans,he now has good reasons
    to do so! it wouldn’t surprise anyone here,if NK is behind these Cyber Attacks,but that has yet to be proved! that’s where our Homeland security people come in! as for Sony,they still have egg on their faces from the Hack Attack-and again,many of us are not aware of the reasons behind this assault,other
    then North Korea,being a prime suspect,in which we have yet to prove-the other theories could vary here,but for the time being,the studio’s decision to remove this film,was still smart-and like i said,it may have saved lives here!

  2. CMarks says:

    The problem now is how many unstable people might these threats insight to violence? I can see a few folks who have nothing whatsoever to do with the hacking using these threats as an opportunity to gain some attention for themselves. Say what you will but I wouldn’t attend any theater showing this movie. Would this mean the hackers win? Well, maybe but I’d prefer to live to flight another day and I can assure you (even without seeing it) that this isn’t a movie worth dying over (even Franco & Rogan don’t think so since they’ve cancelled all their appearances).

  3. Jim says:

    There’s just no way that North Korea has nothing to do with this. There’s no one else on this planet who would care this much about this movie and preventing it from being seen….and hackers generally don’t get involved in trying to blow up buildings.

  4. Joel Emmett says:

    Surprised that Sony hasn’t owned this more — no premiere, no showings, no nothing.

    I recognize that perhaps the movie is just really poorly done and may not be that enjoyable. However, barring that, then they should stand up against this terrorist nation and stop being terrorized themselves.

    Art is powerful. And this is just an obvious symptom of that power. Say it loud and proud, Sony. Own it.

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