UPDATE: Sony has officially scrapped its plans to release The Interview on Dec. 25. Below is the full statement:
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show thefilm The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with theplanned 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.
By Gregg Kilday
The country’s top five theater circuits have decided not to play Sony’s The Interview, a knowledgeable source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.
"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 theatres,” Regal said in a statement to THR Wednesday.
Carmike Cinemas confirmed its decision to drop the film on Tuesday. The other chains did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sony also had no immediate comment.
Hackers raised the threat level directed at the movie, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, on Dec. 16, but Sony refused to back down from its plans to release the film on Dec. 25. Instead, in discussions with exhibitors, it told the exhibitors it was up to them whether or not they played the movie and that Sony would support whatever decision they made.
Earlier today, the National Association of Theater Owners, the trade association that represents movie-theater owners nationwide, issued its first statement about the situation. It emphasized that “individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.” It also said that its members were working closely with security and law enforcement agencies, saying that the “safety and comfort [of our guests] is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners.”
As the charged situation around The Interview has developed, there has been growing concern among both exhibitors and other studio distribution arms that screening The Interview over the holidays might impact the number of moviegoers heading to the multiplex. The Interview's scheduled opening on Christmas Day put it up against such other debuting films as Disney'sInto the Woods and Universal’s Unbroken.
Photo: Associated Press