After Sony was publicly shamed for “caving” to North Korean cyber-terrorists by canceling the premiere of the new Seth Rogan/James Franco film The Interview (a characterization Sony disputed), the studio has come up with a plan: It will release the film simultaneously in select theaters and on video-on-demand.
In a statement Tuesday, Sony CEO Michael Lynton explained that Sony had “never given up on releasing” the film and that its release was important to the cause of free speech:
We have never given up on releasing “The Interview” and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.
I want to thank our talent on “The Interview” and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.
The film will open on Christmas day in select theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, the Plaza Theater in Atlanta, and MX Theaters in St. Louis. Some of the theaters have already begun selling tickets, the Drafthouse having already sold out of a few showings Thursday.
The Wrap reports that the film will likely be released in around 200 theaters, explaining that exhibitors typically cap VOD films due to lower turnout expectations.
Here’s Drafthouse’s announcement of The Interview showing: