Four days after being slammed by President Barack Obama, Sony on Tuesday announced The Interview, the film that got in into trouble with North Korean hackers, will be released.
But in a limited number of independent theaters, the large chains are still not ready to test the threat of 9/11 style attacks by Guardians of Peace, the hackers from Pyongyang.
“We have never given up,” said Sony CEO Michael Lynton in a statement. “We are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
Obama called Sony’s decision to pull the movie, a comedy lampooning Kim Jong-un, a mistake. Sony protested then, saying it had no choice. But it got the message.
More than 300 cinemas are expected to screen the movie starting Thursday, when it was originally planned to release before alleged Jong-un hackers struck.
The White House approved. “The president applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film,” the White House said in a statement. “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.”
The cast was thrilled as well.
“The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!” tweeted Seth Rogen, one of the film’s actors.
“CELEBRATING!!!!! ‘The Interview’ starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco saved by President Obacco!” said the other star of the film, James Franco. He purposely misspelt the president's name in mock retaliation for Obama getting his last name wrong earlier. Flacco is a football player.
The movie is not set for release. And North Korea experienced internet troubles for the second day running, according to media reports, with the origin of the disturbances still unclear.
But the disruption will have marginal consequences for North Korean people at large, most of whom have no net connection to talk off. Only the government and elites have access.
North Korea has only four networks, according to Dyn Research, which monitors 510,000 individual networks worldwide, compared to 47 in Yemen and 370 in Afghanistan.