Update: ‘The Interview’ Will Play in More Than 300 Theaters

The Interview Seth Rogen James Franco

UPDATE: Dec. 23, 6:36 p.m. PST — After saying earlier on Tuesday that “The Interview” will play in more than 200 theaters, Sony has updated to say that the film will now play in more than 300 independent cinemas.

PREVIOUS: Less than a week after Sony pulled “The Interview” from theaters, the studio has reversed itself and set a limited theatrical release in the United States on Christmas Day.

“The Interview,” directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, will now open in more than 200 independent cinemas rather than in the major chains, sources confirm. The studio’s original plan had been for a wide release on Christmas at about 3,000 locations.

“We have never given up on releasing ‘The Interview,’ and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, in a statement. “At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

Rogen wrote on Twitter: “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!”

Alamo Drafthouse, a Texas-based chain with about 20 locations, was among the first to announce it would play the film. CEO Tim League congratulated Sony for the move.

“We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organization they have been under attack,” he said. “Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination. At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theaters across the country.”

League’s chain had announced plans last week to screen “Team America: World Police” as a replacement for “The Interview,” but Paramount declined to allow showings of the 2004 comedy.

“This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us,” League also said. “We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression. Two days ’til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American.”

Daniel Kamil, owner of Cable Car Cinema, an art house in Providence, R.I., told Variety that he’s booked “The Interview” even though the comedy is not typical fare for his theater.

“It’s moved from something funny and silly into something political and important,” Kamil noted.

The Plaza Atlanta theater and Alamo Drafthouse announced Tuesday via social media that Sony Pictures has authorized them to show the film despite major exhibitors canceling screenings in the wake of a cyber-attack that debilitated the studio.

There was also growing speculation that the studio will offer the film via VOD.

Sony had flatly stated on Dec. 17 that there were “no further release plans” but has been backing away from that assertion since then — particularly following President Obama’s declaration two days later that the studio had “made a mistake” in failing to release the film.

Lynton stated in an interview with CNN on Friday that no on-demand providers had stepped forward to offer to handle the VOD release, but that may have changed in the past few days with the intense media coverage of “The Interview” situation. While a number of major theater chains have expressed displeasure at Sony for shifting the blame to them in the decision to pull “The Interview” from wide release, a group of independent exhibitors reiterated that they were willing to show the film in an open letter to Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal published Monday. A New York theater is also planning a live read of the film’s screenplay for Dec. 27.

The FBI on Friday said it believed North Korea was behind the hack attack on Sony Pictures in retaliation for the comedy that involves the assassination of the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un. Later in the day, President Obama criticized Sony’s decision to pull the film’s planned Dec. 25 release after hacker org Guardians of Peace threatened violence against theaters that showed the pic.

“The Interview” imbroglio has sparked a national discussion about freedom of expression and the dangers of cyber-warfare in the digital age.

League told Variety that discussions with Sony began Monday after the Art House Convergence coalition reached out to the studio with a pledge of support for showing “The Interview.”

He said members of the coalition agreed unanimously that they would still show the movie if the studio opted for an early VOD release.

League said the bookings for “The Interview” are open-ended and that the chains are addressing security concerns in the wake of the hackers’ threats. “We’ve reached out to local police departments and will be on the alert,” he added.

Alamo is showing the film at 17 locations, including four in Austin and two in San Antonio.

Brent Lang contributed to this report.

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  1. Johnny says:

    I think they went about releasing this the wrong way. If they really wanted to slam North Korea (which they should), they should have made this movie seem like it really happened. They should have said that the US actually sent James Franco and Seth Rogen, two comedic actors, to N. Korea and they were able to break through all their security and assassinate Kim Jong-un. Kim Jong-un is now dead thanks to these two brave and clumsy individuals.

  2. Daniel says:

    Hypocrisy is despicable.

  3. Daniel says:

    And the best thing, the 300 exhibitors have advertised themselves to become the very targets they were avoiding as being in the first place. Any angry Chinese or North Korean defectors residing in the United States?

  4. Please says:

    Sony and Lifetime should be on trial for human rights abuse this past year. Not for this film but for something else. It’s disgusting.

  5. Jim says:

    Did you hear the new email hacking from Sony?????

    Sony Corp was considering of selling off Sony/ATV Music including the Beatles songs by the end of this year!

    Sony Hackers alive and well despite the power outage.

  6. Jimmie says:

    Or you could rent “This Is the End” with Seth and James or any other Seth movie. He’s the same guy in all his movies. This movie was getting horrible reviews before it was pulled. After this weekend, it won’t have any legs when Sony releases it. No one will care at that point. This is a mistake to put it in 300 theatres. They would have better off with a wide release in Jan or VOD now. The word of mouth on this will be that it’s a bad movie and people won’t care once it goes wide. Sony stepped in it all around.

    • Dave says:

      You know I can probably think of lots of movies that performed well despite horrible reviews! Like Kim Jon Un, just because you had already made judgement on it without seeing it doesn’t mean that it’s terrible.

  7. Thomas says:

    Pyongyang just made the biggest marketing campain for the movie they wanted to censor, well done internet :)

  8. Mia says:

    It’s about time! Sony knew they had to release the Interview or deal with continual shame and disgust from the American people. Kudos to them for finally taking a stand. N.K. choke on that!!! You started it. We are damn sure gonna finish it!

  9. Street Films says:

    Here in America we want our stupid comedies. We love our stupid comedies. Why. Because we’re stupid!

  10. Arnold Markowitz says:

    Go see the interview-ea!
    To hell with North Korea!

  11. Best hard-trolling of the American public ever. There was never a chance this movie was not going to be released. I thought they’d have a bit more sense about how bad they look doing it so soon. I mean, seriously … that almost ruins it. But apparently, judging by the other comments, people are still buying it. This is probably the best … though one of the most obvious … marketing campaigns ever. You got a film that no one really cares about … and now it’s a matter of national importance and patriotism that everyone go out and see it! Genius! Marketing depts from the releasing companies to Sony saw a good opportunity … and jumped at it. At any rate … America can now relax! Now American families everywhere can celebrate Christmas with all of the traditional fart, poop, and small penis jokes that have become such a part of the season! What a great country! ;-)

  12. Dude, who wrote this 5th grade review?

  13. John Harris says:

    YES! Freedom of express does reign! Proud of you Sony.

  14. Is there a list of the cinemas the film will be shown at?

  15. Julienne says:

    Thank you. Letting a communist country like North Korea, or Cuba, or Russia…dictate our freedoms…

    is a step in the wrong direction.

  16. Make a statement show “The Interview” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

  17. DNQ says:

    This doesn’t seem like a movie that interests me, but I will see it on opening day just to support free speech and to give a few bucks to Sony for their troubles. Thankfully I leave near Atlanta. Hopefully more theaters in more states will show the film.

  18. Jacques Strappe says:

    All of this free publicity for a film that probably isn’t worthy of one iota of it. The only thing left in this surreal circus is for President Obama to take a page from the Bozo The Cowboy Clown Bush playbook after 9/11 in telling Americans to go shopping by now telling Americans it’s their patriotic duty to go to the movies and sit through the puerile junk film, The Interview. Somewhere, I hope some enterprising movie studio will make a movie about this bizarre and entertaining incident.

    • Michael Anthony says:

      Free publicity? You make iit sound like a game. Having all employee personal data published isn’tpublicity., its a crime. And yes, people should see the movie, goof or bad. Its a good way to knock NK.

  19. Bob C. says:

    For a movie I had absolutely no intention of seeing, I’m going! F.U.N.K. (easy code to figure out)

  20. Ezzy says:

    NK will continue on their threats if this is released so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  21. John Shea says:

    EXCELLENT! Better late than never.

  22. I still can’t believe it. Sony Picture spokesman was claim that the reason why they won’t show The Interview because the danger from the hacker and no one will show the film last week. Week later the film will be release in selected theater and VOD release. I will now wait until the DVD become available and either rent or buy the DVD.

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