Most of the country’s largest theater chains will not show Sony’s “The Interview,” a comedy about the assaassination of the president of North Korea, because of a warning on Tuesday from anonymous hackers that people should avoid going to theaters where “The Interview” is playing. Sony plans to release the film Christmas day, but chains that have decided not to show it include Regal, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, Arclight and Southern.
The big chains in Little Rock are on that list.
I am not second-guessing (and glad it’s not me doing the guessing). But this is a slippery slope. When e-mailed terror threats shut down commerce it follows that other threats will be tried by others. “The hackers won,” as one headline put it.
UPDATE: Matt Smith, who owns Riverdale 10 in Little Rock as well as other Arkansas theaters, said he still planned to run the movie.
I plan to run the movie. That’s what I told them I would do. I think this is a big city, big cinema chain scare tactic. I’m an independent, I’m in small towns. I would speculate, though, that Sony might decide not to release the film. They may push back the release date. You’re talking about 80% of the screens in the country. Sony might decide not to release it. I have not heard back from the person I know and work with at Sony. I’m sure those guys at Sony are over hitting the panic button and pulling their hair out. Things have changed a lot since 9 o’clock this morning. Threatening people and being able to do that, that is censorship on a mass scale. It really is. It’s a silly comedy, man. Come on, brother. I hate to see something crushed that way. I hate that for the film company and for those two comedians. Unbelievable. I’d like to show it, but the choice might not be mine at this point.
UPDATE II: Smith called back to say Sony is pulling the movie from release so it won’t be available to screen.
Here’s the Sony statement. It said it had halted release because of loss of a majority of screens, but said it shared the “paramount interest” of safety of employees and theater-goers.”