IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Sony pulls release of 'Interview' as U.S determines North Korea behind attack

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures on Wednesday pulled the theatrical release of its North Korea comedy "The Interview," hours before a U.S. government source said investigators determined that North Korea was behind a cyberattack on Sony over the film.
/ Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures on Wednesday pulled the theatrical release of its North Korea comedy "The Interview," hours before a U.S. government source said investigators determined that North Korea was behind a cyberattack on Sony over the film.

Hackers attacked Sony Corp last month, leaking documents that drew global headlines, and now have forced a change of plans for a Christmas Day movie release for thousands of screens.

"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," Sony said in a statement.

Critics immediately began to call out Sony for the decision.

“With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent,” Tweeted former Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich.

The United States may officially announce that the North Korean government was behind the attack in the near future, the U.S. government source said. CNN reported investigators' findings earlier in the afternoon.

The hacker group on Tuesday threatened attacks on movie theaters which showed the film, a comedy about an assassination attempt on North Korea's leader. The threat prompted major theater chains to drop plans for "The Interview" and then for Sony to cancel next week's release altogether.

Several U.S. national security officials told Reuters the government had no credible evidence of a threat to moviegoers.

The studio said it was "deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company."

Sony said it stood by the film makers of "The Interview," a comedy about two hapless journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea' Kim Jong Un, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Representatives for Rogen and Franco, who canceled numerous scheduled appearances this week, did not respond to requests for comment.

Hackers who claimed responsibility for seizing control and leaking data from Sony's computers last month, warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film, and reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on the United States.

(Additional reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Richard Chang and Bernard Orr)