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Sony pulls ‘The Interview’ from theatrical release; no video-on-demand option

UPDATE

Amid a flurry of reaction today from theater chains canceling screenings of “The Interview” following the ongoing Sony hack-attack threats, Sony Pictures announced today that it is pulling “The Interview” from its theatrical release.

Sony released an official statement on the decision, which reads in part:

“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” said a statement from the studio.

The company also sought to squash reports that a video-on-demand release was being considered.

“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” they told the Hollywood Reporter.

Sun-Times movie writer Richard Roeper weighed in on the matter:

EARLIER TODAY:

Hollywoodreporter.com reported that the country’s top five theater circuits have decided not to play Sony’s “The Interview,” scheduled for a Dec. 25 release.

According to the story, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.

This comes on the heels of Sony’s statement earlier this week telling movie theater owners they can cancel screenings of the film if they so choose.

In light of the Sony hack attack-related threats surrounding the Dec. 25 opening of the film “The Interview,” the National Association of Theater Owners released its first statement in light of new threats from the hacking group:

“The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. While we do not discuss security procedures or policies, NATO members are working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies.”

“We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”

In addition, it was announced that four cities — Detroit, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Austin, Texas, canceled promotional screenings Wednesday and Thursday of the film.

In “The Interview,” Seth Rogen and James Franco star as television journalists involved in a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Over the summer, North Korea warned that the film’s release would be an “act of war that we will never tolerate.”

Contributing: The Associated Press