In a move that will definitely not backfire when all those people who rated The Interview a 10 on IMDB because of patriotism or whatever come to the (unfair, but inevitable, given the nature of the Internet) conclusion that they’ve been had, Sony is apparently going to release The Interview to select theaters on Christmas Day after all. The revelation comes after the Plaza Theater in Atlanta tweeted that the movie would open on two screens Thursday, followed quickly by Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League, whose theaters attempted to screen Team America: World Police instead of The Interview, only to have that shut down too.
To be clear, the major theatrical chains whose refusal to screen the movie set this whole thing into motion are still not going to show The Interview—at least for now. This affects mostly independently owned theaters, whose trade association released a petition yesterday which read,
“We understand there are risks involved in screening The Interview. We will communicate these risks as clearly as we can to our employees and customers and allow them to make their own decisions, as is the right of every American. Understanding those risks, the undersigned, independent cinema owners and operators of America under the banner of the Art House Convergence, do hereby agree to support Sony and to support theatrical engagements of The Interview should Sony, at its sole discretion, decide to release it to theaters.”
This will come as bad news to the New York-based theater troupe planning to stage a live reading of The Interview’s script (wonder where they got that?) on Saturday. But it’s good news for Sony, which now will make at least some of its money back but has also turned attention away from its legal action against Twitter for allowing users to post information and screen shots obtained from hacked Sony emails. The group of authors, including Salman Rushdie and Neil Gaiman, which offered to stage a screening and the Democratic congressman who offered the same at the Capitol building are probably pleased as well. The Interview star Seth Rogen certainly is:
Based on early reviews, there’s no way this movie can live up to all the hype surrounding it. But thanks to your friendly local art house theater (which you really ought to be patronizing anyway), now you can decide for yourself. Walking out of the theater, you may turn to your filmgoing companion and say, “Man, that movie sucked,” and your friend may say, “I don’t know. James Franco is a pretentious douche, but he’s pretty funny when he’s playing the fool.” And that’s what freedom’s all about.
UPDATED: James Franco and President Obama have joined the chorus of voices praising Sony’s latest decision as The Hollywood Reporter says that Sony is telling exhibitors that the movie will be released simultaneously on VOD Thursday. We’re still waiting on an official confirmation on that, though.