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Sony Suspends Tours

Independent Theatres to Show "The Interview" After Major Chains Refused

Sony Pictures Entertainment has suspended tours at the iconic studio lot in Culver City in the wake of continued threats against the studio by North Korea and hackers who were protesting the movie "The Interview" where two journalist were hired to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

The tours have been suspended indefinitely, however they plan to re-evaluate the potential threats after the first of the New Year.

Sony along with all Los Angeles studios ramped up security over a decade ago after the devastating attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. The studios were considered a prime target for terrorists.

While Sony won't officially comment on any specific threat it is clear that the suspension is a result of the hack of their computer system and the threats by a group calling itself "Guardians of the Peace" and the North Korean Government. Last year at this time visitors were allowed to tour the lot.

The attack on Sony's computers destroyed data, released Sony's upcoming movies on the internet, made public confidential communications between Sony employees and released personal information about past and present Sony employees.

The hack rendered thousands of computers inoperable and forced Sony to take its entire computer network offline. The hack attack resulted in the leak of Sony films, personal emails and other information.

Sony cancelled the Christmas Day release date of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy after threats made against theaters planning to show the film. Major theater chains pulled the film from its holiday schedule before Sony pulled the plug.

However, on Tuesday of this week it was revealed the film will be shown in independent theatres.

Reeling from criticism from President Barrack Obama for allegedly "caving-in" to terrorists, Sony issued the following statement:

"Sony Pictures Entertainment is and always has been strongly committed to the First Amendment. For more than three weeks, despite brutal intrusions into our company and our employees' personal lives, we maintained our focus on one goal: getting the film The Interview released. Free expression should never be suppressed by threats and extortion.

The decision not to move forward with the December 25 theatrical release of The Interview in major theatres was made as a result of the majority of the nation's theater owners choosing not to screen the film. This was their decision.

Let us be clear – the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.

After that decision, we immediately began actively surveying alternatives to enable us to release the movie on a different platform. It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so."

Independent movie theaters around the country have announced plans to show the movie.

"We have never given up on releasing "The Interview, and we're excited that it will be shown in a number of theatres on Christmas day," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. "At the same time we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and theatres so the film reaches the largest possible audience."


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