Carmike Cinemas, which operates 2,917 screens in 41 states, mostly in the south, said it is passing on the Sony film, according Deadline.
The move is unprecedented in the annals of film-making but the Georgia-based chain said it decided to make the move after receiving assurances from Sony that it would support theaters that pull the film. Sony is moving ahead with the release on Christmas Day.
Guardians of Peace 9/11 Threat
“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.”
“We’re leaving it up to the discretion of the theater owners and chains and we will support their decision,” a Sony source told Deadline.
A shady organization known as Guardians of Peace allegedly hacked into Sony’s computers to protest the film and released hundreds of internal documents in addition to five major films.
It said it planned a Christmas Day surprise for the studio and followed up with the more ominous threat to conduct “9/11” style attacks on theaters that show the film. North Korea as denied any link to the cyber attack.
The film premiered in Los Angeles without incident, although Sony clamped down on television coverage and boosted security. Rogen and Franco have stopped making promotional appearances.
The National Association of Theatre Owners has yet to take a position on Tuesday’s threat.
One theater owner told Deadline he intends to go forward with the showing after local law enforcement told him “the threat of terrorist action is extremely low.”
No word yet on whether law enforcement is close to cracking the case. Reportedly the hackers have been traced to Southeast Asia.
For the latest developments on the hack, be sure to follow IM on Twitter.