The studio said in a statement, “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. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
The hackers, still unknown but rumored to be associated with North Korea, which is very upset over how Dear Leader Kim Jong-un is being portrayed in the film, threatened violence in theaters for those who would go see it when it opens Christmas Day. The hackers even said retaliation could take on 9/11 type violence.
If Seth Rogen and James Franco wanted to add “international incident” to their resumes, they’ve certainly done it. The incident has turned into a lengthy, drawn-out whodunnit that reads like one of the best Hollywood scripts ever (seriously, we hope the guys regroup and make a second film to mock all this).
“Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film,” reports the The Hollywood Reporter.
As The Verge‘s Bryan Bishop writes, the only recourse for the film now is online: “The internet is not just the best option – now it’s the only one,” adding that “releasing it for free would bring a bonanza of good will at a time when the studio needs it, but charging could be an even stronger choice, serving as a bold experiment in day-and-date video-on-demand releases.”
What Sony decides to do now is anyone’s guess, but we’re rooting for the online release. As Bishop pointed out, North Korea can’t control the Internet. And if they don’t release it online, well, the terrorists have already won.