North Korea

Will Moviegoers Ever Get to See The Interview? Source Tells Hollywood Reporter That Five Major Theater Chains Won't Show the Movie

|

Sony Pictures

Good luck seeing The Interview now: After a group of hackers posted a message yesterday threatening theaters with violence if they proceed with showing The Interview, the nation's five largest movie theater chains have decided not to show the film at all, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter. Deadline Hollywood reports that theater chains are expected to make an official announcement about the matter later today. 

Several reports yesterday and today indicate that, in private meetings with distributors, Sony said that it would not pull the film, an R-rated comedy about two journalists tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, but that theater owners would be under no obligation to show it. One theater distributor, Cinemark, reportedly decided not to show the film earlier today. Reports indicate that, following the threats, theater chains were worried about the legal liability in the event of violence. 

If the report is accurate, it means that the movie will be difficult if not impossible to see in American theaters—not because Sony pulled the film from release, but because exhibitors declined to show it. Sony could presumably still go ahead with digital distribution or home video releases.

The Department of Homeland Security has told multiple news outlets that it has "no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters" in the U.S.

Hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace targeted Sony's computers in November and in recent weeks have released troves of internal communications, including emails from top executives and completed but unreleased films. Some reports have suggested that the hackers may be connected to the North Korean government, which has denounced The Interview.

Basically, an anonymous Internet threat looks likely to derail the release of a major motion picture that offended the sensibilities of a foreign dictatorship. 

Update: Sony has decided not to release the movie as scheduled on Christmas, according to CNN's Pamela Brown.  A statement from Sony Pictures, via Buzzfeed's Lisa Tozzi, says that "in light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release." Sounds as if the studio is leaving open the possibility of a delayed release, although I wouldn't bet on it. Digital distribution is likely still an option, but with the biggest theater chains out, and Sony pulling the plug on next week's release, it looks rather like this one will never be shown in theaters. 

Update 2: The New York Times reports tonight that U.S. officials have determined that North Korea was behind the initial cyberattack on Sony: 

American intelligence officials have concluded that the North Korean government was "centrally involved" in the recent attacks on Sony Pictures's computers, a determination reached just as Sony on Wednesday canceled its release of the comedy, which is based on a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

Senior administration officials, who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings, said the White House was still debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea of what amounts to a cyberterrorism campaign. Sony's decision to cancel release of "The Interview" amounted to a capitulation to the threats sent out by hackers this week that they would launch attacks, perhaps on theaters themselves, if the movie was released.

No word on how or if the U.S. government might respond. 

NEXT: Tonight on The Independents: Cuba Policy Libre, Ron Paul, Geraldo Rivera, Obamas on Race, Heroes of Freedom, and Two Minutes Hate!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Now I have go see this hunk of shit.

    1. Yeah, I was going to wait for it to be released on disc or streaming, but now I want to see it in the theatre.

  2. Hackers or MGM IT guys?

    1. Disgruntled SONY ex-employee.

  3. Pussies!

    (TIWTANLW?)

    1. Threats work! Pass it around.

      1. You get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish.

  4. “”an anonymous Internet threat looks likely to derail the release of a major motion picture that offended the sensibilities of a foreign dictatorship””

    Well, at least that wont show the efficacy of anonymous internet threats and encourage many more instances of them in the future.

    1. I think there is a law about that.

  5. do
    not
    care

  6. Pussies

  7. Kim Jung Un has totally Streisanded himself with all this hacking crap, turning a sure-fire bomb into a must-see event.

    1. It looks like it might have its moments. Your Highness was pretty good.

  8. Best viral marketing campaign ever (so far).

  9. Sony has written this off already, so here’s a suggestion: Release the film all over the internet, free to download.

    That way, it will be downloaded in China and make it across the border to North Korea, where people will pass it around like samizdat.

    Suck it, Kim regime.

    1. That would be truly awesome. Or hide copies on USB DVD VHS flip books in the humanitarian aid we send North Korea.

    2. These people have the right idea:

      Whether or not North Korea is behind the Sony hack, Kim Jong Un better brace himself because The Interview is headed to his country. Human rights activists are planning to airlift DVDs of the Seth Rogen comedy into the country via hydrogen balloons.

      Fighters for a Free North Korea, run by Park Sang Hak, a former government propagandist who escaped to South Korea, has for years used balloons to get transistor radios, DVDs and other items into North Korea ? not to entertain the deprived masses, but to introduce them to the outside world.

      1. How many North Koreans actually have DVD players? I’m not being snarky here, either. Judging by what I saw in the Vice “tourism guide” for DPRK, it would appear that only inner party members would have the luxury of personal entertainment.

        1. 46% according to the article.

      2. They can hold up the DVDs near a light source and view the movie frame by frame. No sound unfortunately.

    3. and make it across the border to North Korea, where people will pass it around like samizdat

      Here’s a question. Are DVR/CD-V players even legal in North Korea?

      1. Surprisingly, yes.

        1. That’s interesting. A DVD of a silent, subtitled movie with no sound that would attract the neighbors could work.

          1. Or, you could just turn down the sound.

            1. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had “touch-your-toes, Montag” TV’s with one channel and you can’t turn it off or lower the sound.

    4. Just release to video/PPV. I’ll buy it, just to allow Sony to get their money back.

      THEN, flood the world with it.

  10. This never would have happened if they just included a trigger warning.

    1. Exams would be postponed all over North Korea because the student population would be wrought with emotion.

      1. I suspect the Norks laugh their asses off whenever they see something like the Della Kurzer-Zlotnick post. They must think we’re a nation of wimps.

        1. They’re right.

        2. One of their warnings included something about the Norks’ feelings. I kid you not. That’s one reason I think this is the work of an American (who got canned from Sony).

  11. If they refuse to show it how will we know what Suderman thinks of the movie?

    1. Gayer duo: Frodo and Sam or Franco and Rogen?

      1. One can only hope.

      2. I don’t know. Which has more ass sex?

      3. Maybe Frodo but Sam had a girlfriend

        1. Rosey was pretty hot…for a Hobbit.

    2. And if Loder doesn’t review it, how will we know how it ends.

      1. You just spoiled every Loder review for me.

  12. It really can’t be more insulting than Team America, although they did have Kim Jong Il murder Hans Blix

    1. Team America also slaughtered some other fitting leftists such as Alex Baldwin and Matt Damon.

      (Yes, I know it’s “Alec” but this is just my small way of showing disrespect for the little twerp.)

      1. If you really want to disrespect him, mix him up with one of his brothers.

        He’s a good enough actor that I am willing to ignore his personal idiocy.

      2. Misspelling names is not an insult, but it’s funny you think it is.

  13. I’m getting really sick of everyone being such big pussies. First we can’t joke about the Muslims make believe prophet and now we’re afraid of the nutcase Nork. Fuck this shit, show the fucking movie, pussies!

    1. pussies

      Someone should have included a trigger warning.

    2. Thank you, Hyper, for saying what needed to be said.

    3. we can’t joke about the Muslims make believe prophet

      What do you mean “we”? Mohammad can jiggle my balls and choke on a bag of dicks after he’s done fucking sheep. Come get me, fuckers! There is only one God and that God is your mom.

      1. *quickly takes out short term insurance policy on Zeb*

        1. Wish me luck on my drive home.

      2. Very eloquently put.

    4. Yes and no. LAWSUITS.

      Theaters: If anything actually happened at a screening, from a crazed sniper with a machine gun on each arm to someone getting a rancid kimchee taco (it could happen), the theater and/or chain would be liable for untold billions. So they have to cancel screenings.

      Sony: Same as above, plus other possible threats to employees. In fact, one lawsuit has already been filed for the exposure of personal information.

  14. So is North Korea behind the hack? I’m not sure who else would want to make terroristic threats about The Interview. I suppose it could be a distraction but seems too much of one, gets the USG on your tail and conveniently is specifically designed to disrupt the release of a film North Korea doesn’t like.

    1. It could easily be the Russians just wanting to fuck with us and avoid the blame. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find out that it’s the Russians.

      1. That’s a good possibility, didn’t think of that one.

        And do you mean that the Russia hackers are sponsored by Putin or not?

        1. Putin is pissed at us right now, so could very well be.

        2. Putin is popular enough that I doubt he needs to direct people to do this.

      2. Not really fucking with “us” that much, though, is it? It’s going to piss off a Japanese corporation and a few people who care about free speech and not being terrified pussies.

        OTOH, ridiculously easy to do and no risk, so maybe it’s worth it just for that.

        OTOOH, that suggests that it could be just about anyone with a trolling bone in their body.

    2. The hack was traced the Thailand. They call themselves “Guardians of Peace” (GOP)

      I suspect Sony is being trolled here.

    3. I think it’s a disgruntled Sony ex-employee who has succeeded beyond his wildest nightmares.

  15. Interesting that the Hot Shots movies made jabs at Saddam and the first Naked Gun movie showed Frank Drebin beating up Khomeini and Gaddaffi (among others) and it doesn’t look like there was too much trouble.

    1. Then Benghazi happens and all of sudden it’s cool to get outraged over a movie…

    2. Team America made fun of North Korea.

      OTOH, Hollywood has pretty much been censoring itself when it comes to China

      1. The Red Dawn remake somehow featured North Koreans invading, IIRC

        1. “The Red Dawn remake somehow featured North Koreans invading, IIRC”

          The Red Dawn remake had the Chinese invaders photo shopped to be North Koreans after filming.

          “in 1991, producers initially decided that Chinese assailants would be more appropriate for the remake. According to the LA Times, the filmmakers have decided to change the villains yet again. Instead of the Chinese, North Korean soldiers will now invade the U.S. in the Red Dawn remake. The switch was made in an effort to give the film greater box office appeal in China ? which has become one of the most profitable markets for American movies.

          Around the time MGM first delayed the release of Red Dawn, a Chinese newspaper called the Global Times expressed concerns that the film would demonize their state and its citizens (thanks in part to certain leaked images from the set). So without any official complaints from the Chinese government, MGM will spend $1 million to construct a new opening sequence, re-edit several scenes, and digitally change Chinese symbols into Korean.”

          http://screenrant.com/red-dawn…..ad-106177/

      2. Though Team America is premised on the idea that North Korea really is a potent threat to the world. This one seems to be more about how ridiculous the Kims are.

        1. It’s a comedy about assassinating Kim Jon-Un. It’s a very personal attack on him. Pretty easy how that would really offend him.

          1. And I don’t think they have “humor” in NK either.

            1. They do, but it’s all racist jokes about the Japanese

          2. I always thought the movie looked tasteless, but that does not mean it can’t be funny.

  16. Most theater chains are members of the National Association of Theater Owners. So under the collective defense article an attack on one leads to an immediate counterattack by all of NATO.

    1. The counterattack will, undoubtedly, involve popcorn carpet bombing. And the artificial butter contamination will be hell to clean up afterwards.

    2. Well-played, Riley.

  17. So are we going to the Muslim Legion of Decency threatening terrorist attacks on immoral media and forcing Hollywood to self-censor?

  18. I’m betting Alamo Drafthouse will still show it, maybe I’ll drive out there.

    1. Yep.

      Add another reason to continue my boycott of the big chains in favor of Alamo or my couch.

  19. This movie looks like a total piece of shit, but I guess I have to see it now, don’t I?

    1. My thoughts exactly. I’m sorry to admit that I did laugh a couple times while watching the trailer.

    2. Rogen and Goldberg are pretty funny guys. The only real question is how much unnecessary gross-out humor there is. This is the End is pretty funny, except when it descends into shit and dick talk.

      1. Rogen can be funny but he’s mostly a try hard.

  20. Put me in the skeptical column. Everything I read about NK says how backward they are. They can barely feed themselves. And yet they hack Sony. Freakin Sony????

    1. The elites have no problem feeding themselves. They send their kids to study at western universities. That’s not to say that it is definitely NK, but I’m sure there are a handful of people there who could pull this off.

      1. They can apparently put together a nuclear bomb. And make passable counterfeit US currency. I’m sure they have some people who could pull this off.

  21. Is this about people being pussies, or about movie theaters rightfully scared s**tless after the Aurora, Colorado theater was almost (or for all I know, is still in danger of being) found liable for the Batman killings?

    If Cinemark is scared of jackpot justice ending them forever, who can blame them.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. There’s a huge difference between a private company being cautious (Comedy Central “censoring” South Park) and the U.S. government going nuts over every little “threat” — which coincidentally increases their power and adds to Big Brother’s authoritah.

  22. Interesting variation of the Heckler’s Veto.

    1. I wish I could say I want the last 3:29 of my life back. But I can’t. Because that. Was. AWESOME!

      1. I concur.

  23. So are Norks going to be verboten targets now?

    http://www.thewrap.com/steve-c…..sony-hack/

  24. Straight to DVR. Don’t even leave the house.

  25. I’m shopping this OT on every damn forum on this site because I love it so much:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/17/…..nt-shumlin

    After years of effort, Vermont gives up pursuing single-payer health care

    1. AMAZING!
      It seems they can’t figure out how to pay for it! I’d have never guessed!

    2. And the chart is particularly informative; it’s almost as if they showed a chart pointing out that some automobiles cost more than others.

      1. Haha, and the Projections vs Reality chart.

        Funding: Not enough money
        Savings: Not enough money
        (Step 3: Profit!)

  26. Expected.

    “Single-payer systems tend to have lower administrative costs than those with many private insurance companies, where doctors and hospitals devote lots of time to figuring out who is supposed to pay them what amount. One 2011 study in the journal Health Affairs estimated that American doctors spend four times as much money interacting with healthcare payers than their Canadian counterparts.

    Single-payer systems also have an advantage when it comes to bargaining down prices. Because doctors and pharmaceutical companies basically have no choice but to accept the terms laid out by the government, single-payer systems often feature much, much lower prices than systems. The United States, for instance, pays much more for most health-care services than single-payer systems do. It’s worth noting that many multi-payer systems, like Germany, achieve similar savings to single-payer systems by having the government set health care prices.”

    The “explainer” site neglected mention that most other places either force citizens to pay taxes for healthcare one way or another. The “savings” basically come from other people’s pockets. Most Americans pay little to no income tax but will become eligible for medicaid or medicare once they hit certain age or income level.

    Gee, why aren’t there 20 million immigrants in Canada right now, where min wage is higher and healthcare is free.

    1. Because Canada has set it’s immigration policies to prevent exactly that.

    2. “Single-payer systems also have an advantage when it comes to bargaining down prices. Because doctors and pharmaceutical companies basically have no choice but to accept the terms laid out by the government, single-payer systems often feature much, much lower prices than systems.”

      I don’t think this person knows what the term “bargaining” means.

    3. Because doctors and pharmaceutical companies basically have no choice but to accept the terms laid out by the government, single-payer systems often feature much, much lower prices than systems.

      Paradise. Why don’t we do this with everything? Buy your cars, arugula, and tickets to The Hunger Games from the government!

  27. In my opinion, Sony like other large corporations that have been hacked, is guilty of gross negligence. As for exhibitors who were scared off from showing this film, a bunch of useless, cowardly twits.

  28. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the South Koreans, trying to make the North Koreans look ridiculous.

    It’s a different kind of False Flag. Asians are wierd. Maybe this is how they get revenge for the Norks sinking their submarine.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.