Ithaca, N.Y. — Sony Pictures announced Tuesday that it will screen the movie “The Interview” at some independent theaters after major chains refused to show the film now at the center of a geopolitical controversy.

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Among those independent theaters is Ithaca’s own Cinemapolis, which will play the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, according to Executive Director of Cinemapolis Brett Bossard.

Sony Pictures had pulled the film after a cyber attack and threats against Americans who supported it, according to news reports.

But a group of independent theaters — led by Art House Convergence, which represents “independent exhibitors with a total of 250 screens,” according to Variety — told Sony that they wanted to screen the film. Sony agreed, telling BBC News that it was “excited” for the film to be seen.

Part of the goal of doing so, according to Bossard, is to “make sure artistic expression isn’t at all curtailed.” Cinemapolis, located in downtown Ithaca, will therefore begin showing “The Interview” on New Year’s Day 2015.

“First amendment; first day of the year,” Bossard said. Additional showtimes are expected.

Bossard laughed when asked if this was his way of personally sending a message to the North Korean dictator.

“No, no direct message to Kim Jong-un,” he said. “… I think it was a little silly, the reaction to the threat on the part of the big chains.”

Bossard said he wasn’t sure if Cinemapolis will take any additional security precautions for the movie.

“I don’t anticipate there being much of a problem,” he said.

For more background on “The Interview,” here is Quartz.com:

“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,” Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement. “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.”

According to TheWrap, the theatrical release will coincide with a video-on-demand release a few days later, but it’s unknown exactly which service Sony will use to make that happen. 

This news comes only a few days after President Barack Obama said in a press conference that Sony’s decision to cancel The Interview was a mistake. “We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” he said. “That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.