The Interview, the Seth Rogen-James Franco movie about North Korea that has sparked an international firestorm, will open on Christmas day as planned in some theaters across the country. This follows the comedy being yanked at the last minute by its distributor, Sony Pictures, after threats from a group called Guardians of Peace, a devastating hack into the film company’s computer systems, and major theater chains’ refusal to run the film.
Sony changed its mind Tuesday morning, allowing any theaters to show it. Two of the first out of the gate were Atlanta’s Plaza Theater and Texas’ Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse chain. Their only North Texas location, in Richardson, is scheduled to show the film.
“As crazy as it has been, this is a very positive outcome and ending,” says James Wallace, the programmer/creative manager for the Richardson location.
The film will play on multiple screens in the seven-screen theater though Wallace couldn’t say exactly how many. A half hour after tickets went on sale Tuesday morning, Wallace says the 7:55 p.m. showing on Christmas day was nearly sold out and he expects others to follow suit.
Part of the impetus for getting Sony to reverse its decision may have been the change.org petition created in the last couple of days where a group called Arthouse Convergence, a national coalition of indie theaters of which Alamo is a part, petitioned Sony to let its members show The Interview.
“That was the start of it,” says Wallace. “And we came in this morning and found it was go time. Since then, it’s been non-stop.”
Wallace says Alamo is not overly concerned about security. “There’s not really a threat,” he says.
All of this is a sharp u-turn from where he was 48 hours ago. “We were disappointed,” says Wallace, whose theater not only could not show The Interview but was also prevented from showing Team America, the 2004 film that also spoofs North Korea, when Paramount forbade it. “We really wanted to show it and we wanted to support the film and, of course, freedom of expression.
“The Team America thing was ‘How can we make the best of the situtation?’ Then that got pulled and we were even more bummed out. This has been an unexpected surprise...It’s been a crazy 48 to 72 hours of up and down emotions.”