AMC silent on showing The Interview

Updated: 2014-12-24 12:08

By Ai Heping in New York(China Daily USA)

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AMC silent on showing The Interview

A man dressed as Santa Claus walks under the marquee at the Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, which will showthe movie The Interview beginning Christmas Day. Theater owner Michael Furlinger answers questions about screening the spoof on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. Photos By Tami Chappell / Reuters

Sony Pictures on Tuesday approved limited release of The Interview in some US theaters on Thursday, Christmas Day, but there was no word from AMC Theaters, the second-largest US theater chain and a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, on whether it would show the film.

Last week, AMC and Regal Entertainment Group, the biggest US movie chain, had declined to run the film because of threats from hackers. AMC has 346 locations mostly in North America, along with 86 more locations in the Chinese mainland, home of its corporate parent. The company's headquarters is in Leawood, Kansas.

The film is expected to open in as many as a few hundred theaters on Thursday, the day it was originally set for wide release.

Last week Sony pulled the comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate DPRK leader Kim Jong-un following a devastating cyber attack that has been blamed on North Korea.

After initially saying it had no plans to release the movie, the company began softening its position after it was broadly criticized, including by US President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, Obama hailed Sony's reversal.

"The president applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film," said Obama's spokesman Eric Schultz.

"As the president made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression.

The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."

Meanwhile, North Korea's Internet continued to have intermittent outages on Tuesday after being shut down for nine and a half hours on Monday in an apparent attack.

Obama said last week that the US will "respond proportionally" to North Korea's alleged cyber attack on Sony Pictures. The FBI has publicly identified North Korea as "centrally involved" with the attack on Sony.

The White House and State Department have declined to say whether the US government was responsible for North Korea's outages.

Asked if China is likely to be involved in the Internet outage in the DPRK, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that reporting based on assumption instead of factual grounds is irresponsible and unprofessional.

"We hope that media concerned can say more and do more things that will help increase mutual trust of all parties and advance international constructive cooperation on cyber security," Hua told the daily briefing in Beijing.

In a US State Department briefing, deputy spokesperson Marie Harf did not directly answer questions whether the US was involved in the Internet outage in North Korea.

"I am not going to comment on that one way or the other," she said.

Chen Weihua in Washington contributed to this story.