The Loft Cinema in Tucson will be among a select group of independent theaters around the country that will screen the film The Interview starting Christmas Day.
The film was scheduled to open in Cinemark theaters in Tucson, before an international incident last week led the national chain – and distributor Sony – to cancel its release.
The movie is a comedy about a fictional attempt to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Sony's internal business information was hacked by outsiders, something that U.S. officials blamed on the North Korean government, which denied it.
At the same time, threats were made against theater chains scheduled to show the movie. Sony withdrew its release, but now has begun releasing it to smaller, independent houses such as The Loft.
Jeff Yanc, program director at The Loft, said his theater contacted Sony immediately to express interest in showing the film, and found out Tuesday morning it would get that chance. Yanc called the decision to show the film a political one.
“We’re very committed to supporting freedom of expression and alternative views and alternative programming," he said. "So now the film has changed dramatically in the past week. And now it has become about freedom of expression. And that’s a big reason why we’re supporting it – because that’s what we do here at the Loft.”
Yanc said he doesn’t think the film will put the theater or visitors at risk. There will be security guards on hand - but then again, there always are.
“We’re not really anticipating any larger issues than any kind of normal screening, except there’ll be larger crowds I would think," he said.
Yanc recommended people who want to see the film Christmas day get tickets in advance. Regardless of whether they're coming for political reasons or just for entertainment, The Loft expects a full house.