AMC, Regal, Cinemark, Cineplex and Carmike cancel after Sony hackers escalated their threats to physical violence against theaters who show the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy
Regal, AMC and Cinemark are among the theater chains that have pulled the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy from its scheduled Dec 25 release date after a message referencing 9/11 style attacks on theaters who show the film was posted online Tuesday.
Carmike dropped the movie on Tuesday night and Canada’s largest theater chain, Cineplex, has also pulled the film and removed showtime information previously listed on their website. In addition to those major chains, Landmark has cancelled its scheduled New York premiere of the film on Thursday.
“Cineplex takes seriously its commitment to the freedom of artistic expression, but we want to reassure our guests and staff that their safety and security is our number one priority,” said Pat Marshall, vp of communications and investor relations at the chain.
Bow Tie Cinemas said earlier Wednesday that it also will not screen “The Interview,” one day after hackers behind the Sony cyberattack threatened 9/11-like terror strikes. Arclight Cinemas based in southern California has also cancelled its distribution of the film.
On Tuesday Sony cancelled all press events related to the film.
The cancellation by the major theater chains allows Sony some method of saving face by not officially cancelling the release and caving to cyber extortion but allowing theaters to make the decision not to take the risk. The hackers have all along demanded that Sony cancel the movie, the apparent cause of a devastating hack of the studio that effectively shut down its computers, email and phone, while stealing terrabytes of private company data.
With 574 theaters, the Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal Entertainment Group is the nation’s largest chain. The AMC Entertainment Group, based in Kansas City, has 344 sites and Cinemark Theatres of Plano, Texas, has 332.
Arclight Cinemas, which operates theaters in the Southern California area, will also not be showing the film. Promotional screenings of “The Interview” in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit and Austin have also been canceled.
Matt Donnelly, Todd Cunningham and Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.