Sony changes mind over release of The Interview

Sony Pictures Entertainment is going ahead with a limited theatrical Christmas Day release of the controversial comedy The Interview.

A New York premiere was pulled six days ago after a devastating cyber attack on Japanese-owned Sony and threats against the screening, blamed by President Barack Obama and the FBI on North Korea.

But Sony has announced the slapstick comedy about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will show after all at cinemas who want it.

A theatre in Dallas, Texas, has already confirmed it will be among the first to screen the film, which has generated huge global publicity since the hacking of Sony’s computer system.

This followed by an internet outage in North Korea after US President Barack Obama pledged to respond "in a place and time and manner that we choose."

Chief executive Michael Lynton says releasing the movie is a rebuke to the hackers.  It is also a response to President Obama, who said pulling the film was the wrong decision.

“We are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech,” Mr Lynton says.

The limited theatrical opening is “only the first step” in the movie’s release plans. The Interview will also be available via video-on-demand.

Actor Seth Rogen, who stars with James Franco as two tabloid TV reporters who gain access to the Korean dictator, says in a Twitter post: “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!”

While most of the major cinema chains in the US originally asked Sony to cancel or postpone the release because of the threats, a consortium of independent operators earlier this week requested to screen the film as a free-speech statement.

The Department of Homeland Security had dismissed that threat as not credible and President Obama’s stand backed that up.

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