"The Interview" will be screened at a handful of independent movie theaters on Christmas Day. This news comes after a weekslong battle between Sony Pictures and hackers that the U.S. government said last week are backed by the North Korean government.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain confirmed Tuesday it will screen "The Interview" at its Dallas-Ft. Worth theater and its Yonkers, New York, theater. There are 17 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema theaters around the country (mostly in Texas), but none have confirmed that they, too, will show the film.
â€” Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) December 23, 2014
The Plaza Theater in Atlanta and Chalmette Movies outside New Orleans confirmed they will show the film. Other theaters have yet to confirm, and none of the three largest cinema chains in the U.S. -- namely, Cinemark, AMC and Regal -- returned calls regarding their plans to show or not show "The Interview."
“It’s a matter of free speech,” said Chalmette Movies film booker Ellis Fortinberry, according to the New Orleans Advocate. “Chalmette Movies always plays independent and foreign films and things out of the ordinary. So when Sony called us, we wanted to go ahead and play it.” Chalmette will screen "The Interview" at 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. local time on Christmas Day.
One of the film’s stars, Seth Rogen, said on Twitter that “The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas Day!” -- but he did not specify which theaters had agreed to show the film.
Sony “approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other art house and independent theaters across the country,” according to Tim League, CEO of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain of independent theaters, but he also did not confirm what other theaters had plans to hold screenings.
President Barack Obama, who criticized Sony Pictures’ earlier decision to cancel screenings countrywide, praised the studio’s decision to go ahead with the screening. The U.S. government formally accused North Korea of masterminding the Sony Pictures hack last week. Hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace stole 100 terabytes of data from Sony, including advance screeners of a future James Bond film, personal information of employees and personal emails between executives.
The hacking group levied vague threats against theatergoers who watched "The Interview" in theaters prior to Sony Pictures’ decision to cancel it. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you keep yourself distant from [theaters] at that time. (If your [sic] house is nearby you’d better leave.)” read one message from the group.
Concerning the threat, Sgt. Greg Lyon of the Atlanta Police Department said, “The Atlanta Police Department is aware of the theater’s plans to show the movie ‘The Interview,’ and we will be monitoring the location for potential threats. At this time, we are not going to be discussing specifics.”
The North Korean government threatened to attack “the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland” after the Obama administration said it would “respond proportionally” to the hack. North Korea’s limited Internet connection was entirely shut off on Monday and appears to be coming back online and dropping off periodically. The U.S. State Department neither confirmed nor denied it was behind the shutdown.
Sony has plans to simultaneously release the film on video-on-demand services, but it has yet to announce which services it will use to do so, according to The Wrap.