After days of ridicule for caving into ludicrous anonymous threats against moviegoers, Sony Pictures and US cinemas will show The Interview this Christmas, after all.
According to the likes of Associated Press, BBC News and Variety, the Seth Rogan comedy flick about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will be shown on December 25 – exactly as first intended.
The movie was pulled from theater listings after anonymous miscreants, claiming to be the hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures' computers, threatened September 11th-style attacks on anyone who went to see the film.
Today, Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton said the farce flick "will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," according to AP. The studio boss added that his company still wants to release the film online and in more theaters. President Obama noted the other day that it was a mistake to pull the film from silver screens.
"We have never given up on releasing The Interview," Lynton said today. "While we hope this is only the first step of the film's release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech."
El Reg wonders where threatening Twitter with legal action over tweets about the Sony Pictures leaks fits into the whole standing up for free speech thing.
The FBI has alleged that the North Korean government orchestrated the infiltration of Sony Pictures' systems and the leak of terabytes of sensitive data – an accusation the impoverished, hermit nation's monstrous regime has denied.
Meanwhile, the information security world has dismissed the allegation that Nork hackers are responsible as complete bollocks. That's a technical term, there. Apart from it making no sense at all, and a lack of evidence on show, the Sony hackers started referring to The Interview and North Korea only after a few journalists speculated Kim Jong Un was behind the "cyber-attack."
Maybe, just maybe, Sony Pictures' climbdown on its climbdown was influenced by the massive flood of interest in the film following the decision to scrap it. Once considered to be a near-certain box office dud that even Sony executives apparently agreed was poor, the movie has rocketed to the top of the crowd-sourced Rotten Tomatoes and the IMDB rankings.
US Senator David Vitter (R-LA) even went so far as to suggest that the film be screened at the White House.
As a result of the sudden hypestorm, what executives had feared would be a massive flop will now likely be among the top box office earners this year.
And all it took was a Pastebin post that could have been written by anybody. Anybody. ®