Sony Pictures has announced that it has cancelled the Christmas day release of 'The Interview' following the recent hacking scandal, which saw its entire back end exposed and cinema goers threatened with terrorist attacks.
The movie depicts two American journalists, played by Seth Rogan and James Franco, going undercover in North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. The hacking group #GOP (Guardians of Peace) compromised Sony Pictures' entire backend, releasing embarrassing emails, the contact details of all staff and movie stars, and most recently, threatened terrorist attacks against cinemas showing the film, stating (SIC):
"We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
"Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear.
"Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)"
North Korea has never admitted to being involved with the hack, but has praised the actions of #GOP.
Sony Pictures released a statement (courtesy of Variety magazine) in response to today's cancellation.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.
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“We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
Initially the company had said it would continue to release the film in minor theatre chains after all of America's major theatre chains backed out, but eventually decided to not release the film at all - which is expected to cost the studio millions in lost revenue.
Sony Pictures may still release the film at a later date, or online through its on demand services, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.
At the time of print, the film is still due to be released in Australia on January 22.