Terrorist threat forces Sony to cancel ‘The Interview’ premiere
Wed 17 Dec 2014
The East Coast premiere of The Interview, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, has been cancelled after the group responsible for the Sony Pictures cyberattack threatened to target cinemas that choose to show the film.
The film, which depicts a fictional attempt to assassinate North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, was to premiere at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York on Thursday, but was confirmed as cancelled by a cinema spokesperson late on Tuesday.
The decision follows the threat delivered to the Hollywood studio from a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace. The message warned Sony Pictures that audiences would be in danger of another 9/11 attack should they attend a screening of The Interview.
The cyber message threatened Sony with a “bitter fate”, and suggested that “the world will be full of fear,” alluding to 9/11: “Remember the 11th of September 2001 […] We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.”
The film’s LA premiere did screen last week, however it was a toned down affair with little media coverage. Other TV and public appearances with cast members have been pulled, including a slot on Jimmy Fallon’s talkshow.
Sony released in a statement that it would be the choice of cinema owners whether they cancel screenings of the film, due to open in U.S. cinemas on Christmas Day.
Tom Stephenson, the CEO of Look Cinemas, told Variety that “Sony has a right to make the movie, we have a right to play it and censorship in general is a bad thing.”
Others in the film industry have also expressed their support for the film and its continued screenings. American film producer and director, Judd Apatow, today tweeted: “I am not going to let a terrorist threat shut down freedom of speech. I am going to The Interview.”
Homeland Security is yet to discover enough evidence of an active terrorist plot against national cinemas.
The online threat from Guardians of Peace read as follows:
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.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.”