The entertainment company Sony Pictures finally released its controversial film "The Interview" on Thursday, drawing thousands of people to movie theaters and online portals.
"We thought this might not happen at all," said Seth Rogen, who made a special appearance in front of viewers in Los Angeles along with the film's co-director Evan Goldberg. "We just really wanted to say thank you. If it wasn't for theaters like this and for people like you guys, this literally would not be … happening right now." Rogen added.
Sony's officials also emphasized the importance of promoting free speech through the film. "It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech," Sony Entertainment Chairman Michael Lynton said in a statement on Wednesday.
A trial for new films
Sony's latest release was also closely watched by film industry experts who wanted to see how the film performed after its release online and how users reacted to a debut in theaters and online movie platforms. Sony released The Interview on GooglePlay, Youtube, Xbox and its own website. The film cost $5.99 to rent for 48 hours and $14.99 to purchase.
Anonymous online threats had caused movie theaters to cancel their screening of the film, which depicts a plot to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In the film, TV presenter Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogen) manage to bag an interview with the world's most secretive regime. At this point, the CIA steps in and presents the two journalists with a plan to kill the dictator.
The film received mixed reviews from viewers.
Sony had earlier said it was canceling the release after a cyber attack on its offices, in which sensitive data was leaked, and threats to moviegoers from the online group "Guardians of Peace." The United States blamed the Sony hack on North Korea and President Barack Obama threatened to take counter measures.
mg/sb (AFP, AP)