Hundreds of theatres begin screening 'The Interview'

By Drum Digital
26 December 2014

Critics and early viewers agree that "The Interview" is less than a masterpiece. But thanks to threats from hackers that nearly derailed its release, it has become an event.

By HILLEL ITALIE

Hundreds of theaters Thursday, from The Edge 8 in Greenville, Alabama, to Michael Moore's Bijou by the Bay in Traverse, Michigan, made special holiday arrangements for the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Sony Pictures had initially called off the release after major theater chains dropped the movie that was to have opened on as many as 3,000 screens.

But with President Obama among others criticizing the decision, Sony officials changed their minds. "The Interview" became available on a variety of digital platforms Wednesday afternoon, including Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website. Meanwhile, Sony and independent theaters agreed to release it in over 300 venues on Christmas.

"We are taking a stand for freedom, said theater manager Lee Peterson of the Cinema Village East in Manhattan, where most of Thursday's seven screenings had sold out by early afternoon. "We want to show the world that Americans will not be told what we can or cannot watch. Personally, I am not afraid."

Some venues showing "The Interview" were more likely to feature documentaries about North Korea than a low-brow comedy about it. At the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico, owned by "Game of Thrones" author George RR Martin, the schedule also includes the Spanish art-house release "Flamenco," the locally made "The Twilight Angel" and an Italian film festival. The Film Society of Lincoln Center, which begins screening "The Interview" on Friday, will soon be hosting a tribute to "Force Majeure" director Ruben Ostlund of Sweden and a documentary about the late Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer.

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