in Movies

Sony Cancels Theatrical Release of ‘The Interview’

the interview sony

In light of recent threats made against theaters by the hacker group known as “Guardians of Peace,” Sony has decided not to move forward with their planned December 25th theatrical release of The Interview, the comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as two journalists tasked with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Here is the full statement by Sony:

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. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

Sony Pictures Entertainment suffered a security breach back in late November, resulting in 100 terabytes of stolen information, including private emails, social security numbers, and medical records. Many have pointed the finger at North Korea, although nothing has been confirmed by the FBI on who is responsible for the hack.

Earlier this week, Guardians of Peace threatened theaters across the U.S. from showing The Interview, evoking the 9/11 attacks in their statement. Whether or not the threats were actually serious, they were perceived that way by four major theater chains: Regal, AMC, Cinemark, and Carmike.

Moving forward, Sony has not explained what their plan is for The Interview — if they have any intention on releasing it on VOD or not.

Here is Judd Apatow’s response:

Update: NBC News reports that U.S. officials believe the North Korean government was behind the Sony Hack.