The Sony Pictures hack fallout has continued this week, with the tenor changing from gleeful schadenfreude over the airing of the film studio’s dirty laundry to genuine, stop-the-nonsense concern as “Guardians of Peace,” the group claiming responsibility for the hack, has begun making terroristic threats.
The New York City premiere of Sony’s The Interview, the Seth Rogen and James Franco-led comedy in which the CIA tasks an American talk show host and his producer with assassinating North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, has been canceled after Guardians of Peace threatened to attack theaters exhibiting the movie, which is set for general release on Christmas Day. From the BBC:
“Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hacker group wrote in a message on Tuesday.
“If your house is nearby, you’d better leave,” they add. “Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
A spokesperson for Landmark Cinemas, who operates the Sunshine Cinema location on New York’s Lower East Side, confirmed that the premiere was canceled. Carmike Cinemas, the Georgia-based theater chain that owns and operates 278 theaters in 41 states, became the first large chain to pull the film. Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, and Cineplex Entertainment later decided against showing the film as well. Southern California’s ArcLight Cinemas is also rumored to be pulling the film from its five locations. (Update: In a follow-up phone call, a representative of ArcLight says that no decision has been made at this time.)
James Franco and Seth Rogen have also canceled all of their upcoming press appearances for the movie in response to the latest threats.
Oddly, footage from The Interview in which the assassination occurs was part of the leak, included in an email discussion over necessary changes to the scene/scenes.
In addition to these threats, Guardians of Peace says it will release a new trove of data next week as a “Christmas gift.”