The hackers WIN! Sony CANCELS release of Kim assassination movie The Interview as U.S. investigators confirm that it was North Korea behind the terrorist threat
- Sony has pulled the cinema release of The Interview after hackers threatened 9/11-like terror attacks on theaters showing the movie
- Decision came hours after the five largest theater chains in North America announced that they were pulling out of showing it
- Studio said it was ‘deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company’
- The Department of Homeland Security has said there was ‘no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters’
- U.S. authorities have also now confirmed that it was North Korea behind the hacking attack
- The company may now release the movie via premium video-on-demand
Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of The Interview after hackers threatened 9/11-like terror attacks on cinemas showing its North Korea comedy.
The decision came just hours after the five largest theater chains in North America announced they were pulling out of showing the film following the threats.
‘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,’ Sony said in a statement.
The studio said it was ‘deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company,’ and that it stood by the film makers of The Interview, a comedy about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
It was also reported on Wednesday that U.S. investigators had confirmed that North Korea was behind the terrorist threat – and that they would be responding.
‘U.S. investigators have determined the attacks against Sony was the work of hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government,’ reported CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez.
He then added that government officials believe that there is no way this attack could have been carried out unless it came from the top.
Authorities are also looking into whether or not someone inside Sony helped the hackers.
Many in Hollywood are not happy with the decision to cancel the film, and took to Twitter to express their frustration and anger.
‘Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow,’ wrote Rob Lowe.
He later added; ‘Saw @SethRogen at JFK. Both of us have never seen or heard of anything like this. Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today.
SONY STATEMENT IN FULL: ‘WE STAND BY OUR FILMMAKERS AND THEIR RIGHT TO FREE EXPRESSION’
‘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.’
Regal, AMC, Cinemark, Cineplex and Carmike, who between operate more than half of the country’s 40,000 cinemas, had announced earlier on Wednesday that they wouldn’t be showing the movie.
In a statement, Regal said it was delaying any showings of The Interview because of ‘the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats.’
The statement from Regal’s vice president of marketing and communications also pointed the finger of blame at Sony and its ‘wavering support’ for the movie.
Sony had told exhibitors on Tuesday that the company understood if they pulled the film in light of the threats.
‘Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theaters,’ said Regal’s Russ Nunley.
Cineplex, which also has more than a 75 percent market share in Canada with 161 theaters and 1,639 screens, also released a statement on Wednesday.