Pickford to show controversial film ‘The Interview’

Locals hankering to see the big-screen release of the controversy-sparking film “The Interview” will get the chance starting Friday night, Dec. 26, at the Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St.

After the controversial hacking of Sony Pictures, threats against screenings prompted large theaters nationwide to cancel plans to show the comedy. Sony initially pulled the release of the movie, which depicts a plot to assassinate North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un.

In a quick about-face, the company announced it would release the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy in a smaller run, mostly to small art house theaters, such as the Pickford, which normally lean toward showing independent films, foreign movies and documentaries.

“We’ve always been dedicated to freedom of speech and artistic expression,” Pickford marketing manager Lindsey Gerhard said. “While the jury may still be out on the artistic merits of the film, it’s an important moment in cinema history.”

Gerhard credited Pickford Program Director Michael Falter for working to bring the movie to the theater.

“Pickford Film Center is excited to stand with our art house and independent friends around the country,” Falter said in a news release. “No matter what merits the film has, it is now linked to an historic event in film distribution, one that extends to the very ideals America holds dear.”

The small theaters opting to show the film, including independent theaters affiliated through the Art House Convergence, were united in rejecting the threats against safety, opting to show the flick in opposition to censorship, Gerhard said.

“I think unanimously everybody agrees that it’s a safe situation,” Gerhard said. “But we’re definitely aware of it and will be aware of it while the movie is screening.”

Sony continued to move quickly, opting to release the movie for sale or rent online starting Christmas Eve, ahead of the theater releases scheduled for later in the week. The movie is now available on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Video and at seetheinterview.com.

Despite the online release, Gerhard said she thinks the movie still will do well in theaters, and advised tickets could sell out quickly so those interested may want to purchase their tickets online ahead of time.

“It’s not uncommon now for movies to be released sometimes the same time they are in theaters, but I think this time it’s more of a community thing,” Gerhard said. “It’s going to see it at the theater that is kind of the exciting thing, since that’s what most of the drama was about.”

For movie show times and tickets, go to pickfordfilmcenter.org/shop/tickets/.

The film will show at the Pickford Friday through Thursday, Jan. 1, and could stay longer depending on box office numbers.