Update: Sony has authorized Christmas Day showings of ‘The Interview’ in more than 300 select theaters, including both The Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas and The Plaza in Atlanta. Plans are underway to expand both theatrically and potentially via VOD.
Here’s the official statement by Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment:
“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. 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. 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.”
The original article:
By CNNMoney.com’s Gregory Wallace: At one point, it looked like Sony was bowing to hackers’ wishes that The Interview never be shown. But that’s not so, says an attorney for Sony Pictures.
“Sony only delayed this,” attorney David Boies said on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He was speaking of Sony (SNE)’s decision to cancel the Christmas Day release by pulling the movie from theaters. That followed decisions by the country’s largest theater chains to not show the movie, because of an online post threatening a “bitter fate” to anyone who sees the controversial comedy, which depicts an assassination attempt on North Korean Kim Jong-Un.
The theater owners were concerned the audience for other films would stay home on Christmas, when Americans turn out to theaters in droves. But Sony is under all sorts of pressure to get the movie out somehow.
“Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed,” Boies said. “How it’s going to be distributed, I don’t think anybody knows quite yet, but it’s going to be distributed.”
That was very different from the studio’s simple message last Wednesday: “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film.”
In a CNN interview on Friday, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said the studio had not “given in” to pressure from hackers and was still considering ways to distribute the movie.
Possible options include a release in willing theaters, distribution through a cable video-on-demand service or an online streaming release, on a service like Netflix (NFLX, Tech30), Google (GOOG)’s YouTube or Hulu.
Lynton said Friday the studio has so far been unable to find a partner. Netflix, YouTube and the theater owner association declined to comment.
The pressure on Sony is lining up.
President Obama on Friday said “I think they made a mistake” by pulling the movie. And on Saturday the Republican National Committee urged theater owners to show the film.
A message last week purporting to be from the hackers said Sony’s decision to not release the film was “very wise.”
At the same time, Sony Pictures has other big problems to deal with. The massive hack exposed a trove of business secrets.