Five major theater chains have opted not to run "The Interview" amid threats from hackers, according to media reports. AMC Entertainment, Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment and Regal Entertainment all will not show the Sony Pictures Entertainment movie, which was due out Dec. 25 and parodies North Korean politics. The decision comes a day after the Guardians of Peace hacker group threatened moviegoers to avoid theaters showing the film.
In an online post, the hackers compared the situation to 9/11, warning that "we will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to." On Tuesday, Sony said theaters could choose not to run the movie, and the National Association of Theater Owners issued a statement Wednesday saying it was working with law enforcement agencies to keep their businesses secure.
“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," the statement said, adding that "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.”
That's exactly what happened. When Sony said it would not stop the release of the movie, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen, Carmike pulled it from 278 theaters Tuesday. Bow Tie Cinemas, the eighth-largest movie chain, followed suit on Wednesday. The movie's New York City premiere was also canceled.
"We hope that those responsible for this act are swiftly identified and brought to justice," Bow Tie Cinemas said in a statement.
USA Today reported "The Interview" was supposed to be shown in 2,000 to 3,000 theaters, and the top five chains account for roughly 1,700 screens.