Rogen and Franco's new comedy is about two journalists who set out to assassinate the North Korean president, and since the recent promotion of the movie, Sony Pictures has faced tremendous pressure to pull the film from theaters.
The hackers, who call themselves the Guardians of Peace, have threatened to attack several cinemas if the film is shown. "Remember the 11th of September 2001," the hacker group said in a message posted Tuesday. "We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time."
The statement continues with even more threats, "If your house is nearby, you'd better leave. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment."
Carmike Cinemas, which operates 278 venues across the country, has canceled screenings of the comedy, but Sony is not objecting and is pledging full support if other theaters follow suit. "If they play it, we'll show it," said Tom Stephenson, CEO of Look Cinemas (via BBC News). "Sony has a right to make the movie, we have a right to play it and censorship in general is a bad thing."
In addition to the cancellation of the premiere, both Franco and Rogen have pulled out of several media appearances, including a live chat with Buzzfeed Brews, and stops at Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Amid all this, Franco posted his own message on Tuesday to Instagram: "Here's the shot the paparazzi are going to get. So they can leave me alone now. Thanks, guys."
Coming to both Franco and Rogen's support, director Judd Apatow -- who's worked with Rogen on Knocked Up and Superbad -- stood by the release of the film, tweeting: "I am not going to let a terrorist threat shut down freedom of speech. I am going to The Interview."
In addition to the fallout of The Interview, Sony is also dealing with the leak of numerous embarrassing emails involving some major A-listers (Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Channing Tatum). The Guardians of Peace -- who called this recent leak a "Christmas gift" -- has released company emails, social security numbers and salary details of the studio's employees.
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