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Sony cancels Christmas Day release of 'The Interview'

Those looking to take in the upcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco satire, The Interview, will have to wait a little longer.

Sony Pictures says it has cancelled its planned Dec. 25 theatrical release of the film in light of the decision by its U.S and Canadian exhibitors not to screen the movie.

“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the statement of employees and theatre-goers,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier on Wednesday Cineplex Entertainment announced that it would be postponing the Canadian screenings of the film after hackers threatened 9/11-like attacks.

“Cineplex takes seriously its commitment to the freedom of artistic expression, but we want to reassure our guests and staff that their safety and security is our number one priority,” the company says in a release. “We look forward to a time when this situation is resolved and those responsible are apprehended.”

The film about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong-un was scheduled have its Toronto’s premiere screening on Thursday at the Scotiabank Theatre.

The premiere screening, as well as all advanced screenings of the film, have been cancelled.

The movie’s New York premiere was also cancelled Wednesday due to the threats.

The hackers, who said they were also responsible for seizing control of Sony Corp.’s computer system last month, have warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film and darkly reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on the United States in 2001.

“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time,” the hackers wrote.

“(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”

Sony executives had earlier told theatre owners it would not pull the film but added they would not object if they decided to cancel screenings, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

Police departments in Los Angeles and New York said they were taking the warning seriously.

5 other notorious hacking incidents

Sept. 2, 2014: Home Depot discloses cyber criminals armed with malware installed on cash register systems have stolen 56 million debit and credit-card information from customers between April and September. It’s believed to be the same malware that stole data from Target and other retailers.

July 2014: Names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses stored with JP Morgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank, is stolen by hackers. It affects 76 million households and seven million small business owners.

May 23, 2014: Online auction site, eBay Inc., admits it had a network security breach two months ago of its databases, exposing the passwords of 145 million users.

December 2013: Hackers placed malware on Target Corp. cash register systems that makes it possible for them to steal the information of 40 million credit card numbers and information from 70 million customers.

Oct. 3, 2013: Adobe customer IDs, including email addresses and encrypted passwords are stolen from the company’s databases by hackers. It ultimately affects 152 million customers and not the 2.9 million that was initially reported.

With files from Reuters