Canada's biggest exhibitor has pulled the Seth Rogen comedy The Interview from its release schedule in the wake of threats from the hacker group the Guardians of Peace.
In a statement issued earlier today, Cineplex Communications and Investor Relations VP Pat Marshall said:
"After careful consideration of this unprecedented and complex situation, Cineplex Entertainment (“Cineplex”) will postpone presentation of the Sony Pictures movie, The Interview. Cineplex takes seriously its commitment to the freedom of artistic expression, but we want to reassure our guests and staff that their safety and security is our number one priority. We look forward to a time when this situation is resolved and those responsible are apprehended."
In a "message" originally published at Variety.com on Tuesday, the Guardians of Peace promised a "bitter fate" for all those stoners and political science majors looking forward to seeing the film, in which Rogen and his heterosexual life partner James Franco are tasked by the CIA with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un."The world will be full of fear," warned the Guardians, led by its widely feared leader Skeletor (possibly). "Remember the 11th of September 2001."
"If your house is nearby, you’d better leave," they added, thoughtfully.
North Korea's National Defense Commission denied responsibility for the original hack, which decimated Sony's computer systems and dumped thousands of the company's internal documents, budgets, salaries, movies, and a lot of extremely embarrassing (or highly entertaning) emails onto the Internet. But they gave two thumbs up to the Guardians of Peace, and described The Interview as "an act of war."
Cineplex operates 162 theatres across Canada, including Vancouver's Scotiabank and Fifth Avenue. In the U.S., four major theatre chains including AMC and Cinemark have elected to drop The Interview, which was scheduled to open on December 25.