INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) — After threats made from hackers that moviegoers might be subjected to violence, Sony Pictures Entertainment last week pulled the comedy “The Interview” before its Christmas Day release.
But on Tuesday, Sony reversed course, announcing it would release the film in select theaters.
So far, at least one Indianapolis movie theater plans to show the movie at least seven times on Christmas day.
“They offered us a chance to show it. And we said ‘yeah.’ We never – we always wanted to show the film,” said Leigh Friedman, general manager at the Georgetown 14 Cinemas. “It’s sad day for America though when freedom of expression is threatened like that.
“We are delighted to show it. We feel that safety concerns are now smaller than we feared because it (involves) North Korea, as identified by the government. And (the release) is a victory for freedom of expression in America.”
The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, involves a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The federal government said last week it believes hackers with ties to North Korea intercepted internal Sony emails, films and later made threats of violence against theaters that planned to show the movie. That set up off an international controversy that left many theaters unwilling to show the movie. After initially saying it would delay or change the release, Sony Pictures Entertainment executives announced last week it would pull the film.
By Tuesday, the movie producing giant had a change of heart.
“We have never given up on releasing `The Interview,”‘ Sony CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement Tuesday printed by the Associated Press. “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.”
Still, at least a half dozen other Indianapolis movie theaters tell 24-Hour News 8 that do not plan on showing the film.
Friedman says while he does not believe the perceived threats against theaters will result in any harm, he will add security for the seven showings Christmas Day.
Indianapolis moviegoers interviewed by 24-Hour News 8 said they won’t be afraid to go attend the movie, and were pleased by the news of its release.
“We live in America and I think we have the right to view, to produce and to see because that’s part of our First Amendment rights,” said Peg Casey. “But America and our world has changed and maybe we need to be and think more about our world view.”
Another moviegoer, Sean Mathew, said: “I think it’s a good idea. They’ve put all the effort and hard work into it. I think they should go ahead and show it.”
The Georgetown 14 Cinemas says it plans to beef security for the showings, but declined to divulge specific plans.
“We will remain vigilant,” Friedman said.