Moviegoers react to limited release of ‘The Interview’

The Plaza Theatre annouces it will show the movie ‘The Interview’
A man walks past the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta after the cinema announced via its Twitter account Tuesday that it would start showing the movie “The Interview” on Christmas Day.
(Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

Jens Dietrich, a 33-year-old Atlanta resident, was disappointed when he heard “The Interview” wasn’t playing on Christmas Day because of threats from Sony hackers.

As an avid Seth Rogen and James Franco fan, the Germany native even signed up for Crackle, a free video streaming service, in hopes that the film would get released online.

On Tuesday, Dietrich found himself among the hordes of people refreshing their browsers to try and get tickets to the number of theaters across the United States that announced they would show the comedy on Christmas with Sony’s approval.

“I’m way more excited about the movie now than I was before," Dietrich said. 


Dietrich tweeted at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, one of the first to say it would show the film, to express his enthusiasm.

“Is it possible to buy tickets online anywhere? I fear this is going to sell through fast,” he tweeted at the theater.

The holiday slate was upended when hackers threatened Sony and movie theaters if they screened Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s film, which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Federal authorities believe the attack was directed by North Korea.

Without “The Interview” in theaters, the box office was left with a lack of R-rated comedies for December. Though the genre caters to a more niche audience (younger males), it’s still a big draw for moviegoers during the holidays when people have time off.


Many, like Dietrich, took to Twitter to tell the theaters how happy they were about the film being played. 

The controversy around whether to scrap “The Interview” has given it more notoriety — be it good or bad. On Rotten Tomatoes, 96% of audiences said they wanted to see “The Interview” — despite the 53% “fresh” rating from reviewers. On IMDB, it received a rating of 10/10. 

Some, such as Austin Sanders, a 25-year-old Austin resident, had already purchased tickets to see the film on Christmas Day before Sony pulled it.

“I was definitely planning on seeing it before all the controversy,” Sanders said. “Now I’m even more propelled to see it because of all this stuff. I guess other people are just as eager.”

Sanders also went on Twitter to post about how Alamo Drafthouse’s website was down. The movie theater chain said it, too, would start showing “The Interview” on Christmas Day.

“Still unable to buy @drafthouse tickets for THE INTERVIEW online because I assume their servers are overwhelmed,” he wrote. “That’s usually a good sign!”

When the film was first yanked, Sanders said he was not frustrated with movie theaters but rather at Sony.

“Corporate cowardice is the phrase I keep hearing,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like the kind of patriotic America. ... We have a history of standing up to tyrants and dictators. It’s kind of ridiculous to me that we would bend to an almost cartoonish dictator.”


Jonathan Winchell, a recent University of South Carolina film and media studies graduate, echoed similar sentiments.

“I think it’s the definition of letting terrorists win,” he said of Sony’s decision. “I understand why they did it but I think they completely botched it. They should have just released it. I think the studios have gotten a lot less ballsy.”

The Clemson, S.C., resident tweeted that he would gladly drive two hours to the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta to see the film. 

For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h on Twitter.

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