New: Berkeley's Elmwood Theater will show "The Interview" tomorrow

Jeff Burbank (BCN)
Wednesday December 24, 2014 - 05:18:00 PM

At least 10 theaters in the Bay Area and Monterey Bay regions, including the Elmwood Theater in Berkeley, plan to show the controversial comedy "The Interview" on Christmas Day since Sony Pictures Entertainment announced it would release the film despite an online group's threats to harm patrons. 

Movie houses in Berkeley and Livermore in Alameda County, Pittsburg and Martinez in Contra Costa County, Fairfax in Marin County, Monterey in Monterey County, San Jose in Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County and Petaluma in Sonoma County plan screenings, according to theater websites. 

Sony last Wednesday pulled "The Interview," a movie about an American plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, from its scheduled Christmas Day national release after theater managers across the country decided not to show it in response to threats of violence from an online group called the Guardians of Peace. 

The group, allegedly from North Korea, was offended by the movie's storyline about a plan to kill the country's dictator and said in an online statement Dec. 16 that it would kill people going to see the 111-minute movie. 

The action by Sony drew widespread criticism, including from President Barack Obama, for giving in to terrorists. Then on Tuesday, company chief executive officer Michael Lynton announced that the film would be offered for limited release as originally planned this Thursday to theaters that wanted to show it. 

In Pittsburg, Amanda Daoud, manager of the Maya Century Plaza 16, said that while few tickets for "The Interview" have been sold so far for showings at 6:30 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and 10:35 p.m. Thursday, she has seen a growing excitement about it among posters on the theater's Facebook page. 

"I think with the stories in the news, people will want to see it to see what's it all about," Daoud said. 

The theater always has armed guards providing security on site and they would escort out anyone trying to disrupt the screening, but "I don't think we're going to have any issues" with protesters, she said. 

Daoud said she anticipates the 16-screen theater will be busy all Christmas Day and "Friday and Saturday might be busier." 

"I think everyone just wants to have a good time -- it's Christmas weekend," she said. 

Other theaters listing showings of "The Interview" on Thursday include the Elmwood 3 in Berkeley, Livermore 13 Cinemas in Livermore, Contra Costa Stadium Cinemas in Martinez, Fairfax Theater 6 in Fairfax, the Osio in Monterey, Camera 3 in San Jose, the Del Mar in Santa Cruz, CineLux Scotts Valley in Scotts Valley and Boulevard Cinemas in Petaluma. 

"The Interview," starring actors Seth Rogen, James Franco and Randall Park as Kim, was also made available via online streaming video starting today, according to Google officials. 

The company wrote in a statement posted on its website today that "we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be)." The movie is available for rent or purchase on Google Play and YouTube and will also be available to Xbox Video customers and at www.seetheinterview.com.