After looking like we would not be seeing the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview for a long time, it appears that Sony Pictures has decided to take a small stand against the hackers who had forced the studio to cancel the planned Christmas Day release after threats of attack on anywhere showing the movie led the biggest theater chains to choose not to run it.
Smaller theaters are announcing that Sony has authorized select screenings of the movie on its planned Christmas Day release, including the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, who initially wanted to screen Team America: World Police in place of The Interview before Paramount shut down that plan. Continue reading for more and to see the announcement of this limited release.
Here’s Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League making the announcement:
Other indie cinemas around the country have also made similar announcements.
Recently the Art House Convergence, which is the national coalition of independent art house cinemas in America, began a petition to Sony showing their support. It read:
We, the independent art house community, specifically the theaters below, express our support for Sony Pictures and all of its employees worldwide in this difficult time. We want to share our encouragement and appreciation for Sony and the great contributions it has made to the film industry, especially to our sector of art houses and independent cinemas.
On December 16th, the Terrorist Organization, “The Guardians of Peace,” escalated their threats by promising terrorist attacks against cinemas showing THE INTERVIEW. “The world will be full of fear,” their message read, “Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”
With this threat, the issue became larger than any film, larger than Sony and larger than the entertainment industry: societal and artistic values are in peril. We are at an important crossroads with an opportunity to reaffirm clearly our dedication to the value of freedom and the absolute necessity to keep our film industry free of restriction, censorship and violent intimidation. We implore our fellow exhibitors and our nation of moviegoers to stand up in recognition that freedom of speech and artistic expression are vital not only to the entertainment industry but for all art and commerce worldwide.
We stand in solidarity with Sony and offer our support to them in defense of artistic integrity and personal freedoms; freedoms which represent our nation’s great ability to effect change and embrace diversity of opinion.
We understand there are risks involved in screening THE INTERVIEW. We will communicate these risks as clearly as we can to our employees and customers and allow them to make their own decisions, as is the right of every American. Understanding those risks, the undersigned, independent cinema owners and operators of America under the banner of the Art House Convergence, do hereby agree to support Sony and to support theatrical engagements of THE INTERVIEW should Sony, at its sole discretion, decide to release it to theaters.
(Please sign this petition only if you are a cinema owner/operator/programmer)
Before this Sony was said to be exploring all possible release options, which included holding it for a later release, releasing it via video on demand services, or even releasing it for free online. Now, it appears, this petition was convincing enough to get them to at least release the movie in a few theaters. This news could mean Sony is close to also releasing the movie on VOD to reach everyone who isn’t close enough to one of the theaters playing it, as well.
How many theaters The Interview will be in specifically is yet to be known, but if you wanted to see the movie be sure to keep an eye on the nearest indie cinema to you.
UPDATE: Here’s a statement released by Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League:
“We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organization they have been under attack. Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination. At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theaters across the country.
This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression.
Two days til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American.”
– Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League
UPDATE #2: Deadline has a listing of all the theaters showing the movie they’re updating as more theaters join the party. You can see who’s in right here.
[Source: via Variety]