Empire Colombia Park 12 cinema in North Bergen, New Jersey expected a full-house as it rapidly sold tickets for the 11:40 show for The Interview on Christmas Day. The audience streamed in to watch the movie as well as denoting their support for freedom of speech.
Security guards were instructed to be on high alert as the movie opened after Sony allowed the release of the movie on limited number of cinemas, on Tuesday. This action was followed by a statement by Obama, disagreeing with Sony’s reaction to threats made by hackers.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing ownership here in the United States” said Obama.
Sony Pictures, who made the film had initially pulled the plug on the movie after the hacking group called Guardians of Peace, thought to be acting on behalf of North Korea hacked into Sony’s database, releasing thousands of private and somewhat embarrassing emails between top execs at the company. This was subsequently followed by a direct threat by the attackers to unleash terrorist attacks on cinemas who dared to screen the movie on Christmas Day.
The main bone of contention lies in the plot of the film which is a loose depiction of the assassination of North Korean communist leader Kim Jong-Un.
The US and North Korea have come to logger heads over the movie which North Korea sees as an insult to the country, but American leaders and Hollywood officials insist the film is only a satiric creation intended purely for the purpose of entertainment.
Actors and Hollywood heavyweights including George Clooney have slammed Sony for bowing to pressure from terrorists after they pulled the $30 million movie.
Clooney who launched a petition to have the movie released told the Deadline that ‘allowing North Korea to dictate content is ‘just insane’. “Do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part. We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all fucking people … we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane.”
Reactions trailing the release have varied. Some cinema goers said they loved the comedy, while some claim it was an absolute waste of money that wasn’t worth the hype.
A spokesperson for Sony says the release is US only for now, with no dates yet for international release.