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Movie theater chains delay showing 'The Interview'

Movie posters for the film 'The Interview'
AFP | Getty Images
Movie posters for the film 'The Interview'

Some U.S. movie theater chains are not planning to show Sony Pictures' "The Interview" on its original Christmas opening day, sources told CNBC on Wednesday.

Sony said later Wednesday it would not release the controversial film as planned on Dec. 25, citing the chains' plans not to show the movie on its scheduled opening date.

"Due to wavering support of the film 'The Interview' by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres," the cinema group said in a statement earlier.

Bow Tie and Carmike also confirmed earlier that they will not be showing the film on the planned release date. AMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ArcLight told CNBC it has not yet decided whether or not to release the film as originally scheduled.

The Canadian theater group Cineplex said in a statement that "after careful consideration of this unprecedented and complex situation," it will "postpone presentation of the Sony pictures movie, 'The Interview.' Cineplex takes seriously its commitment to the freedom of artistic expression, but we want to reassure our guests and staff that their safety and security is our No. 1 priority."

Earlier on Wednesday, Re/code reported that the film's New York premiere was canceled.

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A group that claimed responsibility for the massive computer hack at Sony Pictures in early December demanded the company cancel the release of the film, a comedy which depicts an assassination plot against North Korea's leader.

Meanwhile, Sony is considering a video-on-demand release, a source told Variety on Wednesday. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNBC.

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Disclosure: NBC News group is a minority stakeholder in Re/code and has a content sharing partnership with it.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that ArcLight has not yet decided whether or not it will release the film as originally scheduled and that it is not one of the top five U.S. movie theater chains.

—With reporting by CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Reuters contributed to this report.