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Sony is dropping its planned release of "'The Interview," the comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco that depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — and at least one other Hollywood flick is dying on the vine because of the fallout.
The decision by Sony came after some of the nation’s largest movie theater chains, including Regal, Cinemark, Carmike and Cineplex, said they were holding back or dropping "The Interview" from screens in the aftermath of a hack that has ballooned from embarrassing disclosures for Sony Pictures executives to involve threats against theaters screening the film.
"Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business," Sony said in a statement Wednesday, saying that it reached the decision after the top cinema chains pulled out.
"Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” the company said.
On Wednesday evening, NBC News also confirmed that a Gore Verbinski-directed movie starring Steve Carell and tentatively titled "Pyongyang" (after the capital of North Korea) would not be "moving forward" at Fox's New Regency studio.
Verbinski, responding to the story first reported by Deadline.com, said in a statement that the film was forced to shut down and added: "I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear."
The Sony movie portrays the assassination of the North Korean leader, and had become the topic of extensive debate, even as the perpetrators of the hack remain unknown. In an online posting Tuesday that invoked the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,