Updated at 4:30 p.m. PST: The United States government has linked the Sony hack attacks to North Korea. Read more here.
Sad news for those who wanted to see The Interview on Christmas Day: Sony pulled the film from theaters. The halt comes after major theater chains, including Regal, AMC and Cinemark, announced they will not show the movie.
Campus Circle's screening of The Interview for Thursday, Dec. 18 in Los Angeles has been canceled as well.
Sony said in a statement:
In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
On Nov. 24, the studio suffered a massive hack of emails and confidential data. The group reportedly responsible for the hack calls itself "Guardians of Peace." The group also threatened theaters and audiences in a letter that referenced the 9/11 attacks. Here is the full message:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, two reporters who go to North Korea to interview its leader, Kim Jong-un. However, the CIA employs the two to assassinate Jong-un instead.
In early reviews, the film received less-than stellar criticism. Variety film critic Scott Foundas wrote The Interview is "an alleged satire that’s about as funny as a communist food shortage" and "should feel like a kind of terror attack to any audience with a limited tolerance for anal penetration jokes." Jordan Hoffman of The Guardian wrote, "Not all the jokes land, and some of the tastelessness may inspire groans."
Campus Circle writer Annika Feign's review contains some of the same criticisms. "The film teeters in and out of actual humor and forceful humor," she writes. "It also becomes heavily reliant on stereotypes."
There is no word yet on what Sony plans to do with the film.