Sony Blames Movie Theaters for ‘The Interview’ Decision: ‘We Had No Choice’

“Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion,” the studio says in new statement after being slammed by the President

Sony Pictures placed the blame on movie theaters for “The Interview” being pulled.

“The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of ‘The Interview’ was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film,” said the studio in a statement to TheWrap. “This was their decision.”

The studio also reiterated that pulling the film was not caving into censorship. “Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment,” they continued. “For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film ‘The Interview’ released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.”

The new statement comes on the heels of President Barack Obama blasting the studio for their decision to pull the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy after hackers issued a threat of physical violence against movie theaters that showed the film.

Obama held a press conference on Friday, just hours after the FBI named North Korea responsible for the hacking of and brutal threats against Sony.

“I think they made a mistake,” Obama told the nation from the White House, referring to Sony’s actions in pulling “The Interview” in the face of the crippling cyberattack.

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator in some place can start imposing censorship here in the U.S,” he continued in his remarks. “If somebody can intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical comedy, imagine what they’ll do when they see a documentary or political film they don’t like?

“That’s not what we are, that’s not what America’s about. I’m sympathetic that some private company was worried about liabilities. I wish they’d spoken to me first. Do not get into a pattern in which we’re intimidated by these kind of criminal attacks,” he emphasized.

Read the full statement from Sony below:

Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees’ personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview was made as a result of the majority of the nation’s theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.

Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.