American cinemagoers intent on watching Sony’s The Interview on Christmas Day could get their wish even if theater chains do decide to pull the film. There’s only one catch though: they’ll have to travel to Baghdad to do so.
The film is set to open day and date with the U.S. on December 25 in Iraq and Lebanon. Given that both countries have experienced their fair share of conflict, it comes as no surprise that a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco is hardly ruffling any feathers. “We don’t expect any problems with it over here,” said one local source. “It is a different matter in the Gulf, though, where we might have issues with the censorship board. They don’t like things which are too politically sensitive but we’ll know for sure in the next few weeks.”
While Sony’s plans for the domestic release remain up in the air following the decision by the first theaters to pull the film in the wake of terrorist threats against its showing, question marks also surround its international release. In the UK, where the film is set to open February 6, a local press officer would only issue a terse “no comment” when asked if the company had any plans to delay, postpone, reschedule or cancel the intended release there.
A rep for the Vue cinema chain also confirmed that “no decision had been made yet” with regards to whether they would show or pull the film ahead of its release. Programmers will make a final decision once they have actually seen the film.
For now, at least, UK theater chains do not appear to have the same security concerns their Stateside peers do with no public threats made against the planned release there.
As previously reported by Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione, Sony had already decided against releasing The Interview across most of Asia, save for Australia and New Zealand, given the political sensitivities with regards to North Korea, and more importantly, its strategic ally China.
A rep at Sony’s global headquarters in Tokyo declined to comment when asked by Deadline if the ongoing hacking crisis at Sony Pictures had made the corporate parent re-assess either its commitment to the film business or its own security operations given the catastrophic breach of Sony Pictures’ network.