Sony 'will not drop' North Korea film The Interview

  • 20 December 2014
  • From the section US & Canada
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Media captionSony Pictures CEO: "We have not caved, we have not given in"

Sony Pictures says it is looking at different ways to release The Interview after scrapping its opening following a cyber-attack blamed on North Korea.

It said it had only cancelled the film's Christmas Day release after cinemas pulled out.

Sony said it was considering releasing it "on a different platform". US President Barack Obama called the cancellation "a mistake".

North Korea denied involvement and has now urged a joint inquiry with the US.

The FBI said on Friday that the Pyongyang government was responsible. The Interview depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Also on Friday President Obama said he wished Sony executives had spoken to him before cancelling the release.

"We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship," he said, vowing to "respond" to the cyber-attack in a "manner that we choose".

'Not caved'

Responding to the US president's comments, Sony Pictures chief executive and chairman Michael Lynton said the studio had not made an error in cancelling the release.

Media captionThe US president said Sony made a mistake in not releasing its film

"We have not given in, we have persevered," he told CNN.

A Sony statement said the decision had been based on "the majority of the nation's theatre owners choosing not to screen the film".

"Without theatres, we could not release it in the theatres on Christmas Day. We had no choice," the statement added.

"It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so."

Script details, salary data and private email correspondence were leaked in the wake of November's huge cyber attack.

Hackers then issued a warning referring to the 11 September 2001 terror attacks, saying "the world will be full of fear" if The Interview was screened.

Image caption The company has hit back at criticism from President Obama over the cancelling of The Interview
Image caption North Korea says the film hurts the "dignity of its supreme leadership"

The Interview saga

  • 22 November: Sony computer systems hacked, exposing embarrassing emails and personal details about stars
  • 7 December: North Korea denies accusations that it is behind the cyber-attack, but praises it as a "righteous deed"
  • 16 December: "Guardians of Peace" hacker group threatens 9/11-type attack on cinemas showing film; New York premiere cancelled
  • 17 December: Leading US cinema groups say they will not screen film; Sony cancels Christmas-day release
  • 19 December: FBI concludes North Korea orchestrated hack; President Obama calls Sony cancellation "a mistake".

North Korea earlier this month denied allegations that it was responsible for the hack. An article in the state-run KCNA news agency, quoting the country's top military body, called the suggestions "wild rumour".

The movie features James Franco and Seth Rogen as two journalists who are granted an audience with Mr Kim.

The CIA then enlists the pair to assassinate him.

The film's cancelled release drew criticism in Hollywood, with some calling it an attack on the freedom of expression.

Actor George Clooney told the trade website Deadline on Thursday the film should be released online, saying Hollywood should not be threatened by North Korea.

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