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Threats made against US theatres planning to show new Kim comedy

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Cast members James Franco (L) and Seth Rogen pose during premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California in this December 11, 2014 file photo

Cast members James Franco (L) and Seth Rogen pose during premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California in this December 11, 2014 file photo

Cast members James Franco (L) and Seth Rogen pose during premiere of the film "The Interview" in Los Angeles, California in this December 11, 2014 file photo

US security officials cast doubt on a threat against theatres planning to show a controversial movie about an assassination of the leader of North Korea, but police across the country have vowed to take extra precautions.

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

Carmike Cinemas, operator of 278 theatres in 41 states, informed Sony late yesterday that it will not show the film.

US security agencies are investigating a hacking group that published what appear to be more internal emails on Tuesday and promised a “bitter fate” for those who go to see the movie, “The Interview”, following a cyber attack that severely damaged movie studio’s network.

An official at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and another US security official said investigations had found nothing concrete so far to substantiate the threat.

“At this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theatres within the United States,” the DHS official said.

However police departments in Los Angeles and New York said they were take the warning seriously.

Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck told a news conference that officers would be taking extra precautions to make sure movie theatres were “as safe as we can make them.” He said the threats were “done to put terror” into US audiences.

THREAT

“People should not be afraid to go to the movies in Los Angeles; we have no credible threat,” Beck said.

John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence at the New York Police Department, said the situation was similar to “some of the Bin Laden films, other controversial films where there’ve been threats” in the past.

Sony is already reeling from the disclosures in documents released by the hackers, which have publicly exposed internal discussions important to the company’s future.

Reuters has not been able to verify the authenticity of the more than 100 gigabytes of documents that have been distributed via the Internet. The company has confirmed that at least some are authentic, apologising for the loss of sensitive employee data and some comments made by executives.

“The Interview,” starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is scheduled to debut in US  on Christmas Day.

hnews@herald.ie


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