Sony to release 'The Interview'

In an about face, Sony Corp. is going to release the film "The Interview" to a limited number of theaters on Christmas day as originally scheduled.

Cynics are wondering if the decision to pull the film in the first place was a marketing ploy, but there's no evidence for that and besides, the bad press Sony got for refusing to release the film would have offset any PR gains in orchestrating the change of heart.

The Hill:

Sony Pictures has approved limited Christmas Day screenings of "The Interview," reversing course after taking heat for canceling its planned release after threats from hackers.

Several independent film theaters received approval from Sony Pictures to screen the controversial comedy 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,” said Sony Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton in a statement.

The film, about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was pulled last week after cyberattackers threatened terrorist attacks on any theater that screened the film.

The decision set off a chorus of criticism.

President Obama said the company had "made a mistake.” Lawmakers urged Congress to screen the film and blasted Sony for what they saw as a suppression of free speech. Many among the Hollywood elite — including Judd Apatow and Rob Lowe — joined the disapproval, calling the move a dangerous precedent.

On Tuesday, a CNN/ORC poll revealed most Americans thought the studio had overreacted.

“We are proud to make [‘The Interview’] available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech,” Lynton said.

The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a small theater chain based in Austin, Texas, and the Plaza Theatre, an independent theater in Atlanta, will screen the film starting Thursday. Major theater chains had canceled plans to screen the film after the threats.

“Breaking news: Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour. #Victory” tweeted Tim League, the Alamo Drafthouse’s founder.

Sony vowed over the weekend that “The Interview” would be released in some format, but the Christmas Day release represents a dramatic reversal. Most assumed if the film was to ever hit theaters, it would be shown after Dec. 25, the original release date.

The film will also be released for pay per view audiences, which is probably what they should have done in the first place if they were so worried about terrorism. Regardless, this belated, but welcome release of the film and all the controversy surrounding it, should be an object lesson for Hollywood on how not to handle these situations in the future.

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