New York premiere of 'The Interview' canceled amid hack threats

A New York premiere to celebrate the release of Sony Pictures' "The Interview" was canceled late Tuesday, hours after a hacking group sent a threatening message warning moviegoers to stay away from the event.

The film, a raunchy comedy about the attempted assasination of North Korean president Kim Jong Un, was set to debut at Manhattan's Sunshine Cinema on Thursday evening.

But a spokesperson for Landmark Theatres, which owns the venue, advised that the company had nixed the premiere.

While Landmark did not offer any further explanation for the cancellation, it came on the heels of new threats from Guardians of Peace, the hacking group purportedly behind this month's massive Sony cyber attack.

In an e-mail sent to The Times and other journalists on Thursday, the group cautioned people to stay away from theaters showing "The Interview" and made reference to 9/11.

"Remember the 11th of September 2001," the message said. "We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time."

Earlier on Tuesday, "Interview" stars Seth Rogen and James Franco said they were backing out of a number of planned promotional appearances, including chats with late night hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers.

Both actors attended a low-key Los Angeles premiere of the film held at the Ace Hotel last week. Though Sony beefed up security, the evening was largely uneventful, with Rogen even publicly thanking studio chief Amy Pascal for "having the balls" to make the film.

While the film will no longer have a glitzy unveiling in New York this week, it remains to be seen how many theaters the movie will ultimately play in when it opens nationwide on Dec. 25.

Following Tuesday's new threat, Sony met with the National Assn. of Theatre Owners to tell exhibitors they did not have to screen "The Interview" in their cinemas.

If Rogen -- who also co-directed the film -- is anxious about all of the uproar his film has caused, he's not showing it. On Twitter, at least. "Just saw Birdman," he tweeted late Tuesday, referring to the new Michael Keaton film. "[Expletive] was dope." 

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