12/18/2014, 00.00
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Sony Pictures pulls 'The Interview' following threats from pro-North Korea hackers

The comedy mocks North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un by concocting a CIA plot against him. Hackers steal sensitive company emails, posts their content, and warn viewers they might be victims of another 9/11.

Washington (AsiaNews) - US entertainment giant Sony Pictures has decided to pull the movie 'The Interview' from movie theatres. Directed by and starring James Franco, the picture mocks North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Initially, the company had decided only to delay its Christmas release, but eventually it chose to drop it altogether.

This comes after hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace threatened to carry out a 9/11 type of attack against theatres screening the movie.

In quick succession, many chains - including three of the largest US multiplex theatres - said that they would also drop the film from their line-ups.

The movie shows a celebrity TV journalist (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogen) planning with the CIA to kill the North Korean dictator after landing an interview with him.

Now that is has cancelled the planned US release, Sony Pictures said it had no further plans to screen it. Because of the cyber-attack, the company has already incurred major losses, but is expected to contain them.

Hackers also released internal Sony emails with unflattering remarks about show business. Several Hollywood stars announced they now had "reservations" about working again with the company.

The affair has also stirred the world of diplomacy. Some intelligence sources have indicated that North Korea is very likely behind the attack.

"The United States is investigating attribution and will provide an update at the appropriate time," the National Security Council said in a statement.

"The U.S. government is working tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of this attack to justice, and we are considering a range of options in weighing a potential response." This includes "considering a range of options".

In an expression for the movie and freedom of expression, many US entertainers and celebrities have slammed Sony Pictures' decision to pull the movie from is theatres, calling the decision "un-American".

In a mocking post, documentary-maker Michael Moore wrote, "Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies."

For his part, a terse US President Barack Obama, responded by saying, "For now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies".

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