..And now Sony has canceled The Interview’s theatrical release, originally planned for Christmas Day, entirely. Variety quotes a statement from the company saying,
“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
This news comes as most of the major American theater chains have dropped The Interview after hackers threatened violence against theaters that showed the film. The statement doesn’t say if Sony will attempt to release the film in another, potentially non-theatrical format at a later date, but this sounds pretty definitive.
UPDATE: Holy shit. CNN, CNBC, and ABC News, as well as The New York Times, report that federal authorities have determined that the hackers behind the Sony attack were, in fact, working for the North Koreans. Variety quotes a CNBC source as saying, “we have found linkage to the North Korean government.” An announcement formally tying the regime to the Sony hack and subsequent terrorist threats is coming tomorrow, according to CNN. The FBI has yet to make a formal statement on the news reports.
SECOND UPDATE: Deadline is now reporting that Sony is canceling The Interview altogether, with a spokesperson for the studio saying that it “has no further release plans for the film.” That means, despite some suggestions to the contrary, that Sony won’t be dumping it to VOD services, putting it straight to DVD, or simply releasing it online. Essentially, at least for the foreseeable future, The Interview is now dead.