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Georgia-based Carmike backs out of 'The Interview' | Arts & Culture

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Georgia-based Carmike backs out of 'The Interview'
Arts & Culture, News
Georgia-based Carmike backs out of 'The Interview'

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Columbus-based Carmike Cinemas has become the first theater chain to decide not to show the upcoming Sony film "The Interview", according to both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday evening.

Carmike operates 2,917 screens in 278 theaters over 41 states, including nine theaters in metro Atlanta -- Athens, Cartersville, Canton, Conyers, Newnan, Snellville, Cumming, Hiram and southwest Atlanta.

Sony said earlier in the day Tuesday that they were moving ahead with plans to distribute the controversial comedy on Christmas Day, despite messages from hackers that appeared to threaten violence at theaters showing the film. The threats evoked the memory of 9/11, and suggested that violence of that sort would come to theaters and theater goers as a result of the film's going into wide release on Christmas weekend.

The message from the hacker group Guardians of Peace said, in part, "Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you keep yourself distant from the places at that time (If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)"

According to Variety, the US Department of Homeland Security released a statement late Tuesday saying they had not discovered any evidence of an active plot against theaters in the United States. But given the uncertainty over the film and the threats made against theaters, it is widely expected that Carmike's decision will be mirrored by other theater chains across the nation.

"The Interview" is a comedy starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, and shows an attempted assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Rogan and Franco on Tuesday canceled press appearances in advance of the film's release.

RELATED | Sony won't withdraw 'The Interview'; Feds close to break

In a statement Tuesday evening, federal law enforcement officers with knowledge of the investigation said they were close to making a determination of the source of the hack on Sony.

It was initially suspected that North Korea was responsible for large-scale hacking against the film giant, which resulted in emails and other confidential company information being leaked to the public. It is widely thought that the hack was initiated by North Korea in retaliation for depiction of the assassination attempt on Kim Jong-Un, but the country has denied involvement in the action. They have, however, praised the action of the hacker's group.

The film cost about $44 million to make, and was expected to be released in somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 theaters. A spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, speaking to USA Today, said the organization is "not commenting at this time."

The hackers claim they have been able to seize some 38 million files from Sony, according to Michael Sutton, a security researcher with Zscaler, a San Jose-based company. The hackers said they have close to 12 terabytes of data -- "About 12,000 DVDs worth of data," Sutton told USA Today.

The hackers have been releasing the data piecemeal since November 24, posting them on peer-to-peer sharing sites, which makes the data nearly impossible to delete or destroy, and just as difficult to track.

Here is the full text released Tuesday by the Guardians of Peace:

Warning

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.

Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.

The world will be full of fear.

Remember the 11th of September 2001.

We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.

(If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)

Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

All the world will denounce the SONY.

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