Although The Interview might end up being a pretty bad movie, it’s about to become a cause célèbre for freedom lovers everywhere. The Wall Street Journal reports that the four biggest movie theater chains in the United States — Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Carmike Cinemas Inc. — have cancelled plans to show the film in their theaters amid violent threats issued by the mysterious hacker group behind the devastating Sony Pictures hack that has exposed embarrassing internal emails and other sensitive information about the studio.
The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, revolves around two Americans’ inept attempts to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The North Korean government has been issuing loud threats about the film for months and leaked emails have shown that Rogen thought he could appease the regime by making the depiction of Kim’s death in the film less gory by showing fewer burn marks and flaming hair. However, Rogen said he still wanted to keep a scene in which Kim’s head finally exploded.
While we still don’t know for certain if the group behind the Sony hack is officially affiliated with North Korea, they have pledged solidarity with the regime and threatened both Sony Pictures and movie theaters that had been planning on showing the film. The Journal says that the theater chains decided to cancel showings of the film despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security says that the threats against them weren’t credible.