Sony cancels Christmas release of The Interview following terror threats

The North Korea-set film, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, will no longer be shown to the public this December after a terror threat prompted cinema chains to call off screenings

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Sony Pictures has decided to scrap The Interview’s Christmas release. 

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The studio, which has recently been the victim of a number of high-profile hacks, has pulled the North Korea-set film after a terror threat prompted theatre chains to cancel screenings.

Yesterday Sony made the decision to call off the film’s New York premiere following a threat from hacking group Guardians of Peace, but after major cinema chains AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Theatres and Regal Cinemas declined to show the comedy, they’ve also “decided not to move forward” with the film’s theatrical release.  

The Interview stars James Franco and Seth Roge as two journalists instructed to carry out a fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Guardians of Peace, who have recently leaked Sony films, scripts, private emails and confidential information, released a statement earlier this week warning cinema-goers: “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant.”

Here’s the full statement from 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.”

The film had been scheduled for release on Christmas Day, but sources are now saying that Sony does not intend to rearrange the film’s launch, or release it on VOD. “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” reports Deadline.

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The Interview was set to hit UK cinemas 6th February 2015