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Sony Pulls Plug on ‘The Interview’ with “No Further Release Plans” as U.S. Links North Korea to Hacks

Sony Pulls Plug on 'The Interview' with "No Further Release Plans" as U.S. Links North Korea to Hacks

UPDATE: Variety reports: According to a Sony Pictures spokesman, “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” whether on DVD or VOD as hoped. This news comes mere hours after the studio pulled the $42 million comedy from theatrical release.
EARLIER: Responding to threats of violence from a terrorist group that the U.S. has now identified as linked to North Korea, Sony Pictures Entertainment first offered theater chains the chance to pull out of booking “The Interview,” set to open Christmas Day, and after the nation’s leading theater chains withdrew, the studio cancelled the release altogether. There’s now a chance that the timidity of the theaters will allow the studio to grab this rare opportunity to test the premium VOD release of a major commercial movie–something theaters usually seek to avoid.

In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.” 

Read: Four Reasons Why Theaters Should Have Played ‘The Interview’

For weeks, Sony has been grappling with the havoc wreaked by a well-orchestrated and massive hack of their computer systems and data. Every day, more embarrassing emails were revealed by the hackers, that seemed targeted at bringing down the current Sony regime, especially studio chief Amy Pascal. While filmmaker-star Seth Rogen may not have taken early threats seriously, he is now, as he and costar James Franco have withdrawn their scheduled press interviews for the raunchy comedy which features the assassination of sitting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. One set of emails hilariously revealed the Japanese head of Sony Corp.’s negotiations with Rogen to tone down the exploding of the North Korean leader’s head. 

It’s hard to imagine any studio management having as bad a month as Sony leaders Michael Lynton and Pascal have had. They’ve had to apologize on various fronts, and as predicted class action law suits have been filed against Sony aimed at proving inadequate security precautions. All this has lead to much speculation about Pascal’s future. Under duress to improve performance, she had slashed budgets, let go of vice chairman Jeff Blake and marketing head Marc Weinstock, among others, and brought in Michael De Luca to run production. THR assesses her fate.  UPDATE: And a Civil Rights group asks Sony to fire her. 

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