Sony Pictures Entertainment will no longer be opening “The Interview” on Christmas Eve.
The cancellation came after multiple film chains — including Regal Entertainment and the Santa Rosa Entertainment Group — announced they would not show the film in their theaters. The companies own all the movie theaters in Fresno, Clovis, Selma, Visalia and Hanford.
The decision is based on the Dec. 16 threat by hackers — calling themselves Guardians of Peace — that suggested Sept. 11, 2001 type terror attacks if the film was released.
Because the movie isn’t opening at this time, an advance screening of “The Interview” slated for Wednesday night at the Manchester Stadium 16 was canceled.
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The Associated Press reported this official statement from Sony Pictures: “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”
Controversy has swirled around the film about two guys behind a TV celebrity news show (Seth Rogen and James Franco) being offered an interview with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. When the government gets wind of the meeting, the pair are recruited to kill the leader.
The decision not to show the movie will mean a substantial financial hit for Sony. Christmas Day is one of the busiest for theaters. Not being able to open could mean a loss of as much as $100 million for the film studio.
Five major films are still scheduled to open here on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including “Into the Woods,” “The Gambler,” “Unbroken,” “The Imitation Game” and “Big Eyes.”