Sony has announced that The Interview will premiere as scheduled on Christmas Day—at least in certain theaters. The Plaza Theater in Atlanta and the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas/Fort Worth were among the first to say they will screen the movie. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that Sony is letting theaters know that The Interview will simultaneously be available on VOD. The studio had nixed the Christmas debut after a hacking group threatened to attack screenings. “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,” said Sony CEO and Chairman Michael Lynton in a statement. It is unclear whether larger chains will also be releasing the film across the country, but Kim Jong Un is sure to be displeased.
Seth Rogen, who wrote, directed, and stars in the movie, was thrilled with the decision. “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed!” he wrote on Twitter. A White House spokesman said President Obama applauded Sony’s decision, adding that the U.S. is a country that “believes in free speech.”
The Interview has fast become one of the most controversial films in Sony’s history, escalating decades of tension between the U.S. and North Korea. Hackers, who the FBI has said are from North Korea, are believed to have launched their attack on Sony this month because The Interview portrays Kim Jong Un in an unflattering light. Sony pulled the film’s release in response to fears hackers would reveal more information in addition to the highly damaging leak of employees’ Social Security numbers, celebrities’ salaries, and other private data. But the cancellation drew criticism, not only from Hollywood but President Obama.