Just a little over a week before its scheduled release date and following apparent threats from hackers, Sony has announced that it has cancelled the release of The Interview.

A comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, its plot followed two bumbling American journalists assigned by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

James Franco Seth Rogen
James Franco and Seth Rogen had been due to star in The Interview, whose release Sony cancelled today

But following the decisions over the past two days of five major theatre chains in the US to cancel arranged screenings of the movie, Sony has pulled the release altogether, a matter of hours after its New York premiere to be held on Thursday (18 December) was called off.

In a statement to The Wrap, Sony said: “In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”

It continued: “Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like.”

Though the US Department of Homeland Security recently stated that there was “no credible intelligence” in existence to justify this, Sony’s move is understandable in the wake of the recent invasion of its networks by hackers to which the above statement makes reference.

The hacker group Guardians of Peace was responsible for that, and on Tuesday it warned: “We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview is shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.”

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