Sony Pictures cancels release of The Interview, suggests it won't even be on DVD
Sony Pictures announced on Wednesday it had cancelled the release of The Interview, a madcap comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
The Hollywood studio's move came after US theatre chains said they would not screen the film.
"In light of the decision by the majority of our (theatre) exhibitors not to show the film ‘The Interview,’ we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release,” Sony said in a statement.
“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” a spokesman told AFP, suggesting the film will not even be released on DVD or in other formats.
There has been skittishness about attending the movie, following threats by the so-called GOP (Guardians of Peace) hacking group against any movie-goer planning to see the film.
Several US media outlets reported that investigators now believe North Korea was behind the devastating cyber-attack that saw hackers gain access to a trove of internal Sony documents and unreleased movies.
Representatives for several agencies including the FBI declined to comment on the reports.
North Korea has denied involvement in the brazen November 24 cyber-attack, which some experts said could possibly have been carried out by disgruntled workers or by supporters of North Korea furious over the movie.
Actor Rob Lowe, among a number of stars who have small cameo roles in the movie, did not disguise his indignation at the Sony decision.
Other stars have also been expressing their outrage at the decision.
Experts said Sony’s decision sets a dangerous precedent.
“I am sympathetic with Sony and I am sympathetic with any theatre that worries about damage and injury and worse involving its staff and its customers,” Richard Walter of the UCLA Film School told AFP.
“But on the other hand I have to say there is something, for an American and for anybody who loves freedom, that viscerally rebels against surrendering to terror this way,” he added.
“The single most disturbing aspect of this whole case it the notion that studios might cave, might surrender to lunatics of the political fringe in terms of what movies they make and what movies they release.”