Following news that Sony Pictures had canceled the December 25th theatrical release of The Interview, it was still unclear if the film was simply postponed until a later date while authorities investigate the veracity of the hacker group’s threats of terrorism or if it would instead be released via video-on-demand or DVD. Now it appears that Sony Pictures might be shelving the film for good.
“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” the studio told Deadline when asked if a home release for The Interview was in the works after the five largest theater chains in America opted not to show the film.
On Tuesday, the hackers, who most likely originate from North Korea, warned theaters showing The Interview on Christmas to “remember the 11th of September 2001.” That threat, along with pressure from other studios to pull The Interview so their own Christmas Day movies wouldn’t be affected, convinced Sony to stop the film’s release indefinitely.
Sony’s decision to pull the film from theaters and give in to the hackers’ demands has been met with criticism from politicians and the entertainment industry as it sets a dangerous precedent. “Sony’s decision to pull The Interview is unsettling in so many ways. Good thing they didn’t publish The Satanic Verses,” author Stephen King wrote on Twitter, referring to Salman Rushdie’s controversial 1988 novel. “How much of the decision was about keeping moviegoers safe, and how much just corporate bullshit?”
Michael Moore joked, “Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I’d also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers.”
“Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business,” Sony Pictures wrote in a statement after cancelling The Interview‘s release. “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.”