The Interview, film at centre of Sony hacks, to be released

THE Interview is to be released on Christmas Day in the US, despite the launch having been pulled following threats on cinemas.

The North Korea-baiting film, which has been blamed for a massive cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, was initially pulled after a message threatened a terrorist attack on cinemas showing it.

But the company has authorised a limited number of cinemas to show the film on its original release date, according to some cinema managers. And Sony Pictures may even make it available through video on-demand channels on Thursday, too.

Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, has confirmed that the film will be shown on Christmas Day, but has not mentioned the names of the theatres.

"We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theatres on Christmas Day," he said in a statement seen by the Circa new website.

"At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theatres so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."

"I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film's release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech."

One of the loudest critics of the film's shelving - President Barack Obama - hailed Sony's reversal.

"The president applauds Sony's decision to authorise screenings of the film," said Obama spokesman Eric Schultz.

"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 major cinema chains, understood to be the first to pull out of the release after threats were made on cinema-goers, have not made any statement about whether they will show the film.

Tim League, the founder of Texas's Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, said that Sony has authorised showings of the film for Christmas Day. The cinema was the same one that committed to show Team America in the wake of Sony's cancellation of The Interview.

Tickets for four showings of the film are available to buy on the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema's website.

Another US cinema, the Plaza Atlanta, has also committed to show the film.

Sony Pictures could also opt to release the film on a video on-demand service on Christmas Day, according to The Wrap.

The company has said that it is considering such a move - one of a number of ways the film could get out to the public without a wide cinema release.

Sony was yet to comment on whether the film would return to cinemas.

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