Sony: 'The Interview' to have limited theatrical release on Christmas Day

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Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that "The Interview" will have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on Christmas Day. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that "The Interview" will have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on Christmas Day.

"We have never given up on releasing 'The Interview' and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement Tuesday.

Lynton said Sony is continuing to work with various theaters "so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."

Greg Laemmle, one of the owners of Laemmle Theatres, told Eyewitness News "The Interview" will be shown starting on Dec. 31 at Laemmle's North Hollywood 7. More showings could be added to other Laemmle theaters later.

"When given the opportunity to strike a blow for freedom of expression, we're going to do what we can do to support that," Laemmle said.

Sony had canceled the Christmas release of the movie following threats from hackers against theatergoers. The film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Last week, the FBI formally accused the North Korean government of being responsible for the hacking attack.

During his year-end news conference last week, President Barack Obama said he believed Sony "made a mistake" by pulling the release of the film.

The president said he had hoped Sony would talk to him before making the decision, adding that he would have told Sony, "Don't get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks."

In response to the president's remarks, Lynton had said his company did not cave or back down, but had no choice because major theater chains told Sony they would not carry the film.

On Tuesday, Lynton thanked the film's actors and Sony employees for their hard work during this challenging time for the company.

"While we hope this is only the first step of the film's release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech," Lynton said.

Rogen and Franco expressed their excitement about the film's release via Twitter, calling it a victory for freedom of speech.

A White House spokesperson said the president applauds Sony's reversal.

"As the president made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression," Obama spokesman Eric Schultz said, according to the Associated Press. "The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Intelligence committee who represents many of the Hollywood studios in Congress, is urging theaters to show the film.

"Free expression is the bedrock principle of a democratic society and is especially important in the arts," said Schiff. "We must not allow the world's most oppressive dictatorship to have a veto over what American audiences can see at their local theater, or in their own homes."

The FBI said the investigation is ongoing, and it is urging the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Related Topics:
entertainmentsonyhackingmovie newsnorth korea
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