cancels December 25 release of 'Interview' after
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[December 18, 2014]
By Eric Kelsey, Lisa
Richwine and Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A
U.S. government source said investigators had determined
North Korea was behind a cyberattack on Sony Pictures as
the studio pulled all plans to release its comedy, "The
Interview," about an assassination attempt on the North
Hackers who said they were incensed by the film attacked Sony
Corp <6758.T> last month, leaking documents that drew global
headlines, and now they have forced an apparently unprecedented
change of plans for a major movie release.
Washington may officially announce soon that the North Korean
government was behind the attack, the U.S. government source
The $44 million film had been set to debut on Dec. 25, Christmas
Day, on thousands of screens.
“Sony has no further release plans for the film,” a Sony
spokeswoman said when asked whether the movie would be released
later in theaters or as video on demand.
Earlier in the day, Sony canceled next week's theatrical
release, citing decisions by several theater chains to hold off
showing the film. Sony came under immediate criticism for the
“With the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyberwar.
This is a very, very dangerous precedent,” said former
Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich in a
Fans of the film showed support in various ways. Texas cinema
chain Alamo Drafthouse said its Dallas-Fort Worth theater would
show the puppet-comedy "Team America: World Police" in which a
U.S. paramilitary force try to foil a terrorist plot by late
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
On Tuesday, the hacker group that broke into Sony's computer
systems threatened attacks on movie theaters that planned to
show "The Interview", a comedy about an assassination attempt on
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un. The threat prompted major
theater chains to drop plans for the film and then for Sony to
cancel next week's release altogether.
The White House National Security Council on Wednesday said the
United States was investigating the Sony breach and would
provide an update about who did it at the appropriate time.
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"The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators
of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options
in weighing a potential response," NSC spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan
said, adding that the government was not involved with Sony's
decision to pull the film.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned theaters and other
businesses associated with "The Interview" on Tuesday that they
could be targeted in cyberattacks, according a copy of the document
reviewed by Reuters.
Still, several U.S. national security officials told Reuters the
government had no credible evidence of a physical threat to
Sony said it was "deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress
the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our
The studio said it stood by the film makers of "The Interview".
(Additional reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston and Mark Hosenball in
Washington; Writing by Peter Henderson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama,
Richard Chang, Bernard Orr and Ken Wills)
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