Culture

Sony Changes Its Mind About Releasing ‘The Interview’

CREDIT:

James Franco and Director/Producer/Screenwriter Seth Rogen seen at Columbia Pictures World Premiere of "The Interview" on Thursday, Dec 11, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Sony is not giving up on The Interview quite yet.

On Friday, the corporation said it was in the process of exploring alternative ways for releasing the comedy after a terrorist threat — allegedly driven by North Korean hackers — prompted the country’s largest theater companies to cancel their scheduled Christmas Day openings. Sony insisted its decision to pull The Interview from theaters was based solely on those owners choosing not to screen the film, and did not represent a cave-in to the extortionists’ demands.

“[We are] actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform,” the company said in a statement. “It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”

The message is a new tune for Sony, which two days earlier had told Deadline that it had “no further” release plans for The Interview in the wake of a massive cyber attack which compromised terabytes of sensitive and embarrassing company data. Following the attack, the group claiming responsibly demanded Sony either pull the plug on The Interview, or it would physically attack theaters that planned on showing it.

Sony’s apparent reversal came after President Barack Obama criticized the company on Friday for its decision to pull the movie from theaters. In response to a reporter’s question, Obama said he believed Sony “made a mistake” by canceling the Christmas Day premiere of the film.

“I wish [Sony] had spoken to me first,” he said. “I would have told them do not get into a pattern where you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.”

The raunchy comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco depicts the attempted — and apparently successful — assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

After the hacking and subsequent terrorist threat, FBI investigators revealed their belief that the hacker group has ties — albeit weak ones — to North Korea. The threat was not deemed credible by the Department of Homeland Security, and President Obama urged Americans to “go to the movies.” North Korea has since denied that it was involved, and is calling for a joint investigation into the hack.