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Sony hack: 'The Interview' to be released on Christmas after all

Security is seen outside The Theatre at Ace Hotel before the premiere of the film "The Interview"  in Los Angeles, California on December 11, 2014.  The film, starring US actors Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a  comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate its leader Kim Jong-Un, played by Randall Park.  North Korea has vowed "merciless retaliation" against what it calls a "wanton act of terror" -- although it has denied involvement in a massive cyber attack on Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film.                    AFP PHOTO/STR        (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
-/AFP/Getty Images
Security is seen outside The Theatre at Ace Hotel before the premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California in this file photo taken December 11, 2014. Sony subsequently canceled the film's Christmas release after threats of violence from the group behind the Sony hack, which the FBI has blamed on North Korea. On Tuesday, December 23, 2014, Sony said it will proceed after all with a release at select theaters.

Sony Pictures Entertainment reversed itself on Tuesday and said it will proceed with a Christmas Day theatrical release of "The Interview," the film at the center of a massive security hack.

The studio had earlier said it was pulling the film indefinitely and on all platforms after the group behind the cyber attack on the company threatened violence to anyone who went to see it and after several major theater chains said they wouldn't screen the movie.

The film depicts a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A group calling itself "Guardians of Peace" hacked into Sony's network and released loads of sensitive employee and corporate data, including entire unreleased movies, along with a series of messages threatening further retaliation if the company released the film to the public. The FBI has said North Korea is responsible for the attacks on Sony.

"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 Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, in a statement released by the company. "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."

Sony's decision to pull the film led to an immediate backlash from celebrities and others who considered it a cowing to forces that threaten free speech. Even President Barack Obama said the company was making a mistake.

But Sony later blamed the decision on theaters, which said they wouldn't carry the film after moviegoers were threatened with implied violence.

"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," Lynton said in the statement.

On Tuesday, the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas said that Sony has authorized it to screen the film starting Christmas Day, and Atlanta's Plaza Theater also said it will show the film, according to the Associated Press.

In Los Angeles, the nonprofit Cinefamily tweeted its interest in screening the movie. 

Tweet

Tweet

James Franco and Seth Rogen, stars of "The Interview," took to Twitter to celebrate the news.

Tweet

Tweet

A lawyer for Sony, meanwhile, has threatened to sue Twitter if the social media company does not block users who post information that was released in the hack, according to NBC News:

LA Weekly and Deadline Hollywood each have lists of theaters in the Los Angeles area that will be showing "The Interview" on Christmas Day.

This story has been updated.