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Sony Pictures cancels release of The Interview

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Sony Pictures has canceled the theatrical release of The Interview, the film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, reports CNN.

The decision comes after a number of major U.S. theater chains postponed the movie's debut, following threats invoking the 9/11 attacks from the group that hacked Sony Pictures last month. The Interview, which was directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg, was set to premiere on Christmas Day. The plot of the film centers on a television host recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. In real life, the country has spoken out against the movie, and is suspected to have a role in the attack on Sony.

"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers," said Sony Pictures in a statement posted by CNN's Brian Stelter on Twitter.

"We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public," the statement continues, referencing the hack that exposed private emails, screenplays of upcoming Sony films and more. "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

According to the leaked documents, The Interview cost $44 million to produce.

For more on the issues at heart in the malicious attack on Sony, see our column on the supposed "soft war" against America's enemies.