The will they or won’t they is officially over. After a majority of movie theater chains publicly announced they would not show The Interview when it was released on Christmas Day, Sony executives officially made the decision to pull the movie themselves, ending a short but aggressive flurry of debate.

At this time, it’s unclear whether Sony will release the film On Demand or via any other distribution method. More than likely, the film will see the light of day at some point, but right now, it seems unlikely it will ever generate the big opening weekend the studio was likely envisioning when it spent a rumored $44 million to make and more to advertise the flick.

You can read Sony’s entire statement below, courtesy of The Wrap
"In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."

In many ways, Sony’s hand was forced by the sheer number of theater chains who decided to bail after the hackers vowed to unleash 9/11-style violence on any businesses that showed the movie. Had only one or two decided to pass, the flick could have potentially earned enough money to justify the effort, but with most of the big boys pulling out, there just wasn’t enough screens left. Even if the film played to full capacity at those venues, it would have been an uphill climb. Sensing that, Sony apparently decided to fold and save some chips for another day. Maybe this whole thing will blow over in a month. Maybe On Demand will work as a successful platform down the road. At this point, it’s hard to tell.

Still, Sony’s decision to pull the movie and the theater chains’ decision to cancel their agreements comes as a big blow to creative expression. It’s also potentially a terrible sign to other hackers, terrorists and/ or complainers that Hollywood is willing to listen to demands and is willing to pull an entire movie if that proves the easier road to travel. Most of us never thought it would come this far, but then again, I suppose Hollywood isn’t exactly known for its rigid morality or uncompromising stance. In fact, studio executives have a long track record of bowing to outside pressure, just not usually in such a clear and obvious way.

Our thoughts at Cinema Blend go out to Seth Rogen, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan and everyone else involved in the making of The Interview. Whether you wanted to see the film or not, they spent months of their lives working on it, and it’s a shame to see it disappear in such an upsetting fashion.

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