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Independent Movie Theaters Pressure Sony To Screen “The Interview”

Independent Movie Theaters Pressure Sony To Screen “The Interview”
Still from The Interview [Photo: Ed Araquel, courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures]

Sony has been dodging shots from all angles ever since hackers published the gory details of its corporate email for all the world to see. Sony execs, faced with the possibility that safety concerns around The Interview would affect box office returns, were cowed into pulling the controversial movie from theaters. Then, President Obama called that decision “a mistake.” To top it all off, movie critics have been giving the The Interview a resounding thumbs-down. “The remarkably dismal quality is emblematic of the mind-set that brought the movie, and its attendant crises, into being,” Joe Morgenstern wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

Now another set of stakeholders is posing a new dilemma for Sony: art house cinemas. Today a coalition of independent movie theaters, under the leadership of Art House Convergence, filed a Change.org petition pledging to screen The Interview, if Sony will release it.

“We implore our fellow exhibitors and our nation of moviegoers to stand up in recognition that freedom of speech and artistic expression are vital not only to the entertainment industry but for all art and commerce worldwide,” the petitioners write. “We stand in solidarity with Sony.” So far 141 signers, purportedly all independent cinema owners and operators, have backed the campaign.

Another petition, launched by George Clooney, never made it beyond an email chain. The Hollywood leaders the actor hoped to enlist on behalf of “Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands” declined to take a stand, according to Clooney, who spoke with Deadline about his failed initiative.

“This is a situation we are going to have to come to terms with, a new paradigm and a new way of handling our business,” Clooney says. “Because this could happen to an electric company, a car company, a newsroom. It could happen to anybody.”

[h/t: The Verge]

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