Sony Pulls “The Interview” Amidst Terrorism Threats from the “Guardians of Peace” Hackers [UPDATE]

U.S. reportedly links the historic server breach to North Korea.

In a surprising turn of events, Sony Pictures has decided to cancel the Seth Rogen–James Franco goofball comedy The Interview, as movie theaters around the country declined to screen the film ahead of its scheduled Christmas Day opening. The film, which depicts Rogen and Franco’s characters on a CIA mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been the source of ire from the hackers since the beginning of the data leak, which began a few weeks ago.

The actions from Sony and the nationwide theater chains come as the so-called “Guardians of Peace” hackers responsible for the film company’s historic server breach threatened acts of terrorism against theaters who would show the movie. The threat, written in the style of a Connery-era Bond villain, reads in part:

“We have already promised a Christmas gift to you. This is the beginning of the gift. We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

Just the latest in a, frankly, bizarre and embarrassing saga for Sony—who have seen unreleased films, internal e-mails, in-production scripts, employee personal bank and social security data, and more, revealed to the public thanks to the hack—various media outlets are now reporting that the U.S. government believe North Korea is indeed behind the cyber attacks.

If you need to restore some faith in artistic freedom in America, the Alamo Drafthouse will be screening Team America: World Police in place of The Interview next week.

Updated December 18, 11:45 a.m. : Now, Deadline and others are reporting that Paramount Pictures, the studio responsible for Team America, is canceling screenings of that movie in place of The Interview due to “circumstances beyond [their] control.” What?

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