The Sony Pictures Entertainment comedy at the center of a devastating cyber attack is facing another obstacle — rival studios.
Sony reportedly told exhibitors it will proceed with plans to distribute the film, but some major Hollywood studios are maneuvering behind the scenes to elbow "The Interview" out of theaters, according to people familiar with the situation.
The other studios are concerned that hackers' threats might cause audiences to stay home during the Christmas break, a time when movie-goers typically flock to theaters, the sources said.
"The holiday movie season which runs from roughly the weekend before Thanksgiving through New Years accounts for roughly 20 percent of the total year box office," said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Rentrak. "So it's a very important moviegoing period second only to the summer season."
Theater owners themselves are re-evaluating whether to screen the Seth Rogen/James Franco film "The Interview" in the wake of hackers' threat Tuesday to commit acts of violence at cinemas showing the movie.
The Landmark Theater in New York canceled Thursday's premiere, and Carmike Cinemas became the first major chain to drop the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The upscale ArcLight Cinemas followed suit, Deadline reported.
The Department of Homeland Security said there was no "credible intelligence" of a plot against movie theaters in the U.S.