LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Top U.S. movie theater chains are delaying plans to show Sony Pictures' North Korea parody "The Interview" on Wednesday following threats made on cinemas showing the film by a hacking group that waged a cyberattack on the Hollywood studio.
Regal Cinemas, which operates 573 U.S. theaters, said in a statement it will delay the Dec. 25 opening of "The Interview," citing "the wavering support of the film 'The Interview' by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats."
Canadian company Cineplex Entertainment, which operates 161 theaters, also said it will postpone screening the film.
Regal joins Carmike Cinemas, operator of 278 theaters across 41 states, which informed Sony late Tuesday it will not show the film. Bow Tie Cinemas, which operates 55 U.S. theaters, said it was "saddened and angered by recent threats of terrorism" and will not open the movie on Dec. 25.
The Hollywood Reporter said AMC and Cinemark, both major U.S. theater chains, will also postpone showing the film.
Representatives from AMC and Cinemark did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and a Sony spokeswoman declined to comment on Wednesday.
"The Interview," starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, follows two hapless journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Hackers who claimed responsibility for seizing control and leaking data from Sony Corp's computers last month, on Tuesday warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film.
They reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on the United States.
The National Association of Theatre Owners, which represents movie theaters across the United States, said Wednesday it was it was working closely with security and law enforcement agencies and that cinemas may choose not to show the film.
Thursday's New York premiere of the film was canceled. Rogen and Franco have also canceled several scheduled media appearances this week.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine, Eric Kelsey and Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)