After a tumultuous promotion period (or lacked thereof due to many press event and premiere cancellations), Sony Pictures Entertainment has decided to show the highly controversial The Interview after all. Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton has released a statement on Tuesday confirming that they have authorized some theaters to screen the James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy on its original release date.
“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,” Lynton says in his statement. “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.”
“I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month,” Lynton’s statement reads. “While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”
Tim League, the founder of the famed Alamo Drafthouse, says his theater will be one of the selected few to screen the comedy about North Korea.
Breaking news: Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour. #Victory
— Tim League (@timalamo) December 23, 2014
The Plaza Atlanta has also announced that it will screen The Interview on opening day at five different showing times.
Both the Alamo Drafthouse and Plaza Theater were among those that planned to screen Paramount’s Team America: World Police after Sony had canceled The Interview amid threats from a hacker group called the Guardians of Peace. However, those screenings were subsequently canceled as well.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony plans to offer the movie simultaneously as a VOD option so it can be available to the greater public.
The new update comes just days after President Barack Obama called Sony’s decision to pull the film “a mistake.” Previously, the company underwent a massive security breach, in which its private emails between staffers and confidential files and salary information were leaked online, before it was threatened to with 9/11-like attacks from a cyber-terrorist group reportedly working for North Korea.
The flick, which centers around two journalists sent to North Korea to kill leader Kim Jong-un under the guise of a television interview, was dropped by major movie chains Regal, AMC, Cineplex and Cinemark before Sony pulled the film completely on Dec 17. Since then, the controversial assassination scene was leaked online.
In retaliation, the Hacker group then demanded Sony to pull all material, including posters and trailers, relating to The Interview and mocked the FBI’s investigative skills.
Following Lynton’s announcement that The Interview will be released, Franco shared on his Instagram along with a photo of his co-star Rogen, “VICTORY!!!!!!!
The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!! SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters on XMAS DAY!”