Things seem to be going from bad to worse for Sony. Despite all the free publicity for The Interview in the wake of the Guardians of Peace hack, the New York premiere was cancelled and the majority of U.S. exhibitors have decided to pull the film from its Christmas release in the wake of worrying 9/11-style terror attack threats from the anonymous hackers.
Now Variety is reporting that the studio is considering a premium VOD release for the comedy, which sees James Franco and Seth Rogen recruited by the CIA for an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator. The site reports that Sony plans to make the film available for exhibitors should they choose to screen it on its original release date, although with the likes of AMC, Regal, Cinemark and Carmike opting against it, the studio is facing a headache as to how it might recoup its $42 million budget, along with additional marketing costs.
UPDATE: Sony has now confirmed that it has taken the decision to pull The Interview from its planned Christmas release, posting the following statement:
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
UPDATE 2: Despite Homeland Security previously stating that “there is no specific, credible threat information that would suggest that any attack was imminent”, it is now being reported that senior U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that North Korea is responsible for the Sony hack.
The Interview is directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg and also stars Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex), Randall Park (Sex Tape), Timothy Simons (Veep) and Charles Rahi Chun (Scrubs).