UPDATE, 1:24 PM: With big theater chains including Regal, AMC and Cinemark today canceling plans to start showing The Interview on December 25, more media screenings are shutting down too. Movie houses in Austin, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Detroit pulled the plug on press screenings earlier today, and now the screening set for 8 PM ET at the AMC Loews on West 34th in Manhattan is no longer on. The December 18 NYC premiere was axed on Tuesday. Screenings that were supposed to happen tonight in Washington D.C. also have been scraped.
PREVIOUS, 10:43 AM: The National Association of Theatre Owners today told its members that its OK if they don’t want to show The Interview because of security concerns. “Individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.” said NATO in a statement today (read the full statement below) over the December 25 opening Sony pic, which has been at the center of the recent massive hacking of Sony
After several days of no comment, the trade organization’s remarks Wednesday also note that while the Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday they believed there wasn’t “credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States,” the group that reps the movie theaters obviously thinks otherwise. “While we do not discuss security procedures or policies, NATO members are working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies,” NATO said. “We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended.”
Some theaters are already shutting down The Interview before it opens. Today, theaters in Austin, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Detroit axed press screenings for The Interview. The screenings were scheduled for today and tomorrow. On Tuesday, James Franco and Seth Rogan cancelled their planned press tour in support of the film.
These media screening cancellations and NATO’s response comes one day after hackers issued threats to moviegoers and theaters showing the increasing controversial comedy, which is set to open on a very crowded and busy Christmas Day. Following those threats, Sony on Tuesday told exhibitors that they were free to not show the film if they didn’t want to. Since then Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas, California’s Arclight Cinemas and the Northeast’s Bow Tie Cinemas have all said they will not be showing The Interview. Set for December 18, the NYC premiere of the film at the Sunshine Cinema on Manhattan’s Lower East Side has also been canned.
Currently, the biggest three chains in America – Regal, AMC and Cinemark – have not indicated if they will pull The Interview or not.
Here is NATO’s full Statement:
“The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. While we do not discuss security procedures or policies, NATO members are working closely with the appropriate security and law enforcement agencies. We are encouraged that the authorities have made progress in their investigation and we look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie so that our guests may enjoy a safe holiday movie season experiencing the many other exciting films we have to offer.”