Sony Will Let Audiences Watch ‘The Interview’ After All
The strange story of The Interview appears to be reaching some kind of conclusion (we hope), with the announcement that the film will be released on Christmas Day after all… in select theaters, and VOD.
The Christmas release of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy was previously cancelled on December 17th, after terrorist threats were made against theaters screening the film, which features a plot about assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The major movie theater chains backed out of the release date, prompting Sony to issue a press release stating that there were “no further release plans” for the film.
Afterwards, Sony – which had already been battling the fallout from a massive hack on their computer systems, in which confidential information and e-mails were leaked to the media outlets – was put on the defensive yet again. President Barack Obama said that Sony had “made a mistake” by giving in to terrorist demands.
Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton responded on CNN (via Variety), saying, “The only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it… Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.”
But critics, including myself, were openly skeptical about Sony’s sincerity about hoping that “anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.” Many independent theaters, like the Cinefamily in Los Angeles, CA and The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, publicly requested to screen the film, but were not initially given permission by the studio, which pulled the film entirely after a wide release seemed out of the question. If they were really willing to let “anyone who wants to see this movie” see The Interview, why not let them?
But now, days later, these theaters will be permitted to screen the film, according to a new press release from Sony (read the full statement at Deadline):
“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 Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment. “At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
The terminology – “a number of theaters,” “continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters” – seems to imply that Sony was holding out for a wide release, but that is of course speculation. In either case, between the production and marketing costs, The Interview is speculated to have run up a hefty $75 million price tag for the studio, one that a smaller release in independent theaters and VOD might have difficulty recuperating.
CraveOnline expresses our support for Sony’s decision to let theaters willing to screen the film actually do so. Check your local listings for screening locations and times. We certainly hope you enjoy the film!