The film that incited a cyber attack and worldwide controversy — the film that was about to open, canceled and then announced to open in limited release — will open at Tampa Theatre this weekend. Sony Pictures, the company that endured a more damaging hacking job than Target this month, canceled its Christmas Day release after a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace threatened 9/11-style terrorist attacks on any theater that screened it.
“Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up!” co-director, co-star and co-writer Seth Rogen wrote this past week on Twitter.
According to The New York Times
: "Theater owners and government officials have been trying to assess the credibility of the terrorism threat, which came on Dec. 16 and warned of 9/11-scale violence if The Interview
was released. Initially, the FBI had guided theaters to treat the missive like a bomb threat — credible until it could be proved otherwise. But law enforcement agencies have in recent days softened that assessment, according to people briefed on the matter."
The story in the NYT
went on to say that art-house theaters showing the film might still take unusual security measures, perhaps by banning backpacks or packages or posting signs advising customers of added risk, said people briefed on their plans.
"We will have off-duty police officers there tonight and for all the screenings, but that is our standard practice anytime we have a late night movie and or anticipate a near-capacity crowd," says Tampa Theatre spokeswoman Jill Witecki. "So the answer is yes, but that is not out of the ordinary for us."
The movie's plot follows Dave Skylark (James Franco) and producer Aaron Rapaport (Rogen) who run a celebrity tabloid show Skylark Tonight
. When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. But plans change (and plot stretches a mile wide) when CIA Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) recruits the bumbling Skylark and Rapaport to turn their trip to Pyongyang into a mission to assassinate the North Korean dictator.
Show times are 10:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 26-27 and Jan. 2-3. Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for Tampa Theatre Members, seniors and military, available at the Tampa Box office or online at tampatheatre.org (service fees apply.) Stay tuned for updates.