Sony still plans to release The Interview in some form after hackers pressured the studio and theater owners into dropping the film.
The studio has told the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets that it’s evaluating its options for the over-the-top comedy, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as two American journalists tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during an interview.
Theaters originally planned to screen The Interview starting December 25, but abandoned those plans after Sony suffered a devastating hack that may or may not have involved North Korea. The hackers threatened violence if theaters showed the movie, prompting Sony to leave the decision up to theater operators. They immediately caved, and the entire situation drew some scorn from President Barack Obama, who said canceling the release was “a mistake.”
While Sony originally said it had no further release plans for The Interview, the studio now says it will distribute the film in some form. However, Sony denied a New York Post report claiming that the film would land on Sony’s ad-supported Crackle service, and a source told the Journal that Sony isn’t even considering a release on Crackle. Officially, the studio says it is “still considering a number of options.”
Meanwhile, the hack itself is blowing up into a political crisis, with the FBI claiming North Korea was “responsible,” and North Korea threatening reprisals for the accusation. “The army and people of the DPRK are fully ready to stand in confrontation with the U.S. in all war spaces including cyber warfare space,” a released statement declared.
Why this matters: It’s extremely rare for a movie to be yanked from theaters shortly before its release, and it’s unclear exactly what Sony’s options are at this point. With the film gaining more publicity than it ever would have before the hack, it will be interesting to see if Sony tests the waters of digital distribution or tries to get The Interview back into theaters again.