Let’s start this directly with Seth Rogen’s tweet, “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theatres willing to play it on Xmas day!”
After witnessing the biggest ever cyber attack on a company on U.S. soil, Sony Pictures has finally come out from the dark, and responded to the threats which it received from a North Korean (Yes, now we know that) hacker group, calling themselves “Guardians of Peace”. The company will be releasing the movie in select theatres, who are willing to play it on this Xmas.
The release however would be extremely limited. WSJ reports that a source close to the entire decision has said that most of the multiplex chains within the U.S. have denied to screen the film. Most of them have asked Sony to either postpone the movie, or cancel it altogether. In fact, only a fraction of the original number of theatres will be playing the movie.
In a statement, Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton said,
We are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech
Sony had earlier announced that it will not release the film, and may cancel it altogether after the hackers sent a threat mail explicitly warning theatres of a repeat on the 9/11 attacks on all those who opted for playing the film. The production house received severe criticism, including one from President Obama himself, on giving up under pressure from the hacker group.
The FBI later intervened, and after considerable investigations, confirmed that North Korea was behind the devastating cyber attack. President Obama, in his year-end speech mentioned of a “proportionate” response to the North Korea-backed cyber attack. However, he later termed the attack as an act of “cyber vandalism” but not an act of war.
Incidentally, North Korea suffered a long, 8 hour internet black-out just yesterday, which let many analysts thinking that this might be the “proportionate” response which the U.S. President talked about.
The Interview, which is a story about an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has however faced international criticism. China for example, through Global Times categorically objected on the content of the film, though it later issued a statement condemning the attack and extending support t the U.S.