by: Natasha Chen Updated:
SEATTLE - Several initial showings on Christmas Day of “The Interview” at some Puget Sound area theaters are sold out, despite Sony Pictures’ release of the film online one day earlier.
The film was made available Wednesday through Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Video, and seetheinterview.com. Consumers could pay $5.99 to rent it for 48 hours or buy the movie for $14.99.
At least four theaters still planned to show the movie beginning Christmas Day: Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle, Grand Cinema in Tacoma, Yelm Cinemas in Yelm, and Oak Harbor Cinemas in Oak Harbor.
People at each theater told KIRO 7 they have no plans to change their show times because of the online release. They also said they expect large crowds, despite the film being available online.
“I know that for a lot of theater operators, that was a deal-breaker,” said David McRae, owner and operator of Ark Lodge Cinemas in Seattle’s Columbia City.
But McRae knew that Sony would release the movie online. He just didn’t know when.
Showings for “The Interview” at the Ark Lodge are sold out through Friday night. McRae said people are curious to see the movie in theaters, or in some cases, even to watch it at home and then in the theaters again.
“For me, it’s not as much fun to watch a comedy at home by myself,” McRae said.
Actor and director Seth Rogen offered the same sentiment in a tweet Wednesday; “I need to say that a comedy is best viewed in a theater full of people, so if you can, I'd watch it like that. Or call some friends over.”
People told KIRO 7 on social media Wednesday that they were streaming the movie, not just in hopes of seeing a comedy, but also to make a statement against North Korea, whom the U.S. government said is responsible for the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.
McRae has planned for more security measures after threats were also made to theaters showing the film. But he said he’s among other theater operators in Washington and around the country making a statement by showing “The Interview."
“Every artist - even Seth Rogen and James Franco - if they have put a good faith effort to make the film, they have a right to have it shown. I compare it to Charlie Chaplin doing the Great dictator, and the Marx brothers when they did Duck Soup,” McRae said.
KIRO 7 contacted Sony Pictures, Google, YouTube and Xbox to see how many people streamed the movie in its first day. So far, we have not received a response.