Vancouver-born Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg—the co-directors of The Interview—showed up at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles where their new comedy was being screened.
“If it wasn’t for theatres like this and for people like you guys, this literally would not be fucking happening right now,” Rogen, who also wrote and stars in the film, told the audience.
Sony Pictures released the $44-million movie today about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
The Interview, which also stars James Franco, drew sellout audiences in more than 300 U.S. theatres, though it still hasn't been shown in Canada.
Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said he was "proud to make it available to the public".
The studio initially wasn't going to release the film after major exhibitors, including Cineplex, announced that they wouldn't screen it after threats from a shadowy group called Guardians of Peace.
The studio changed its mind after President Barack Obama and others criticized the decision.
One moviegoer in Los Angeles, Matt Orstein, told Reuters that The Interview is "farce of the highest level".
"I would equate it to something like Airplane! or Hot Shots! you know," Orstein said. "I mean it's funny but it's definitely nothing that could topple a monarchy."
There have been widespread reports that the government of North Korea was responsible for hacking into the email system of Sony Pictures, which led to several embarrassing revelations earlier this month.