Obama Cheers Sony’s ‘Interview’ Decision: ‘We Are a Country That Believes in Free Speech’

President issues statement after Sony announces North Korea-set comedy will be released in select theaters on Christmas Day

President Barack Obama praised Sony Pictures Entertainment after the studio announced Tuesday that it will release “The Interview” on Christmas Day, after all.

The statement was released via White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.

“The President applauds Sony’s decision to authorize screenings of the film,” the statement read in part. “As the President made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression.”

On Tuesday Sony announced select theaters will show “The Interview,” the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy about an assassination on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It had previously canceled the release after hackers threatened physical violence against theaters who choose to play the film.

“We have never given up on releasing ‘The Interview’ and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, in a statement released Tuesday. “At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

So far, theaters that will be showing “The Interview” on Christmas Day include the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Texas, Plaza Theater in Atlanta, Georgia and MX Movies in St. Louis, Missouri.

Sony also plans to release the film via Video on Demand the same day, though nothing has been announced officially.

Read the full statement from the White House below.

The President applauds Sony’s decision to authorize screenings of the film. As the President made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression. The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome.