The roller coaster carrying the Seth Rogen, James Franco comedy The Interview has taken a new hairpin turn: After canceling the Christmas Day theatrical release due to threats from hackers to attack theaters, and major chains bailing on the release, Sony has now authorized select independent theaters to screen the film.
One of the theaters enthusiastically taking Sony up on that offer is Texas-based chain Alamo Drafthouse, which will show the movie in 16 of its theaters in Texas, Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, New York and Missouri. CEO Tim League announced the news on Twitter this morning and has issued a statement about the decision:
“We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organization they have been under attack. Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination. At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theaters across the country. This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression. Two days ’til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American.”
The news comes a day after a coalition of independent movie theaters started a Change.org petition asking to screen the film.
It also casts into doubt speculation that Sony would release the film through Video On Demand on or around the Christmas release date, which was in question anyway because of partners’ unwillingness to take on the risk. Sources who work in VOD say that if the film will be screened in theaters on release day, it is highly unlikely that Sony will pursue a concurrent VOD release.