The Nickelodeon in Columbia is among a group of independent theaters that will screen “The Interview,” giving Sony Pictures Entertainment an outlet when the major theater chains backed away after terrorist threats.
The comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, had long been set to come out Christmas Day. After a mysterious group that hacked Sony’s computer system threatened violence at theaters that show the film, major theater chains pulled it from their offerings. President Barack Obama said the hackers are linked to the North Korean government.
A group of independent theater managers called the Art House Consortium on Monday offered to show “The Interview” at its theaters. Andy Smith, executive director of The Nickelodeon, backed that movement, but he was surprised when it all came together on Tuesday.
The Nickelodeon, which already had movies scheduled for its regular time slots, plans late night showings of “The Interview” for two weeks starting on Dec. 26. The Friday showing is set for 11:15 p.m., and the 15 showings over the next two weeks include 11:30 a.m. matinees on Dec. 28 and 31 and Jan. 2 and 4. There won’t be a showing New Year’s Eve.
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“It’s causing a bit of a logistical nightmare,” Smith said.
Asked if he had any trepidations about showing the film, Smith said “only on a logistical level.” While the comedy isn’t typical fare for The Nick, Smith felt it needed to be screened because “we can’t back down out of fear.”
He wasn’t sure Tuesday what, if any, extra security measures would be taken.
Smith noted that a customer called early today to tell him she was having trouble getting through on The Nick’s online ticket system. “I thought, ‘Oh no! Maybe the North Koreans already know we have it booked,’” he said.