The theater chain became the first to take up Sony’s offer to exhibitors to pull “The Interview” if they desire in advance of its wide release this Christmas. Sony remains committed to the planned opening.
Multiplex owners were caught by surprise Tuesday after hackers evoked the memory of 9/11 while threatening theaters that play the comedy about an attempted assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
The Carmike chain, based in Georgia, operates 278 theaters and 2,917 screens in 41 states. The sites are mostly in rural and suburban areas of the South.
Sony Pictures has stayed silent on the latest threat from the hackers and the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying they have not yet discovered evidence of an active plot against U.S. theaters. But the decision by Carmike to bail out of showing “The Interview” is likely to be followed by other distributors.
The hackers called “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, “an awful movie.”
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“Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made,” the missive said. “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.)”
Rogen and James Franco cancelled all media appearances on Tuesday and Wednesday, but still plan to attend at the New York premiere on Thursday.