The Interview release: President Obama hails Sony's decision to put out film on Christmas Day after all

Film that seemed to provoke massive Sony hack to be distributed after all, and might be put on-demand too

The US President, Barack Obama, has hailed Sony Pictures' decision to go ahead with the Christmas Day release of its controversial film The Interview after it initially chose to pull the North Korea-baiting movie following a massive cyber attack and threats towards cinemas.

"The President applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film," said Mr Obama's 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 theatres allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."

Mr Obama had originally described Sony's decision to pull the release as a "mistake".

The company has now 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."

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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