Sony Pictures announced on Wednesday that it is pulling the theatrical release of The Interview in response to major theater chains, including Regal Entertainment Group, deciding not to show the movie due to the threat of violence.
"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,” said Sony in a statement, reprinted by the Los Angeles Times. “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
The Interview, directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, stars Rogen and James Franco, who attempt to kill North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un.
The top movie theater chains in the United States, including the Regal Entertainment Group, decided against showing the film on Christmas Day following threats made by Sony hackers, according to the LA Times.
On Wednesday, Turlock Regal Stadium 14 confirmed that it would not be showing The Interview on Christmas Day.
According to Turlock Regal, the theater was planning on releasing the film on Dec. 25, but was told they would not be showing it. The theater could not cite a specific reason why they were pulling the movie.
On Nov. 24, hackers began releasing sensitive information following a security breach of Sony. Hackers releases thousands of Social Security of studio employees, salaries of executives, and many emails.
“Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business,” continued the statement from Sony. “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.”
Hackers, who called themselves the Guardians of Peace, then made threats of violence on Tuesday.
"We will clearly show it [our Christmas gift] to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to," the hackers wrote, according to the LA Times. "The world will be full of fear. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."
Despite pulling the film, Sony said they stand behind their filmakers.
“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,” said Sony in the statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."