More than 250 movie theaters have dropped The Interview in light of what may be the scariest Sony hack development so far.
Guardians of Peace, the hacking group that has taken credit for systematically releasing private documents obtained from Sony Pictures Entertainment, posted a message online Tuesday threatening thousands of movie theaters that plan to begin showing the Sony comedy, The Interview, on Christmas Day.
The message warned of an attack similar to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, directed towards theaters that show the movie, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as agents hired to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“The world will be full of fear,” the message said, adding, “Remember the 11th of September 2001.”
Sony has already told theater owners they can cancel screenings if they feel the movie poses a safety risk. The Daily Mail reports that the Carmike Cinemas chain, which operates 254 theaters in 37 states, has already opted not to show the movie.
The National Association of Theatre Owners, as well as the United States’ three major theater chains, Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark, declined to comment. All three chains experienced a drop in stock prices Tuesday, according to The Daily Mail.
“We are aware of the latest threat and are working closely with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Please remain vigilant,” Sony chief executive, Michael Lynton, wrote in an e-mail to employees. “The FBI has confirmed that it is looking into the credibility of the threat, with a spokesperson saying; ‘The FBI is aware of recent threats and continues to work collaboratively with our partners to investigate.”
The Department of Homeland Security weighed in Tuesday, as well, but said there is currently no evidence to suggest the threats are real.
“We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States,” a spokesperson for the department said.
According to USA Today, Seth Rogen suspended his media appearances for both Tuesday and Wednesday in light of the new threats.
“It’s a little crazy,” he told USA Today of North Korea’s suspected involvement in the Sony hack.