Bay Area theaters to show Sony's 'The Interview'

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Sony reversed course on Tuesday, deciding to authorize the release of its controversial new movie "The Interview" after a group of small art houses petitioned the studio to allow them to present the film. (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Ed Araquel)

Sony Pictures reversed course on Tuesday, deciding it will authorize the release of its controversial movie "The Interview." This about face comes despite threats of another hack attack and even violence.

This is still not the big Christmas release Sony had planned. It's now talking about expanding the release in the coming days. But right now it's limited to small independent theaters across the country, including several here in the Bay Area.

Sony says it never gave up on releasing its film. The comedy about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un was pulled from major theater chains after threats of violence from a group believed associated with North Korea.

But the owners of small independent theaters, like the non-profit Mark Fishkin runs, started a campaign encouraging Sony to allow them to screen the film rather than give in to intimidation.

"If anyone of these entities called us and said, 'I'm sorry you can't show that film,' it would be anathema to us who work so hard as curators to try to get these issues and these really artistic films to the forefront of audiences."

Fishkin, who is the executive director of the California Film Institute, says he got calls from people wanting his Smith Rafael Film Center to show the controversial comedy.

READ MORE: James Franco thanks 'President Obacco' for releasing 'The Interview'


People we talked to said they would go just to make a statement.

"I've actually walked out of at least one of the movies made with that crowd," moviegoer Ed Prue said. "But yeah, now I probably would go see it."

President Barack Obama criticized Sony last week when the movie was cancelled. On Tuesday the White House released a statement, applauding the company. The statement reads in part: "We are a country that believes in free speech and the right of artistic expression."

Weeks before the controversy, "The Interview" had a premiere at the Castro Theater that was organized by the San Francisco Film Society.

"A film like 'The Interview' would not normally play independent venues," said Noah Cowan with the San Francisco Film Society. "It's a big Hollywood comedy. But in this case, just because of the strange circumstances, all these wonderful small theaters all across America are actually going to have the chance to play this film, which will probably be the box office winner of the season. So it's kind of a victory for the little guy."

Where is the movie "The Interview" playing?
Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley posted a message on its Facebook page on Tuesday, announcing that they will have showings on Christmas Day.

The New Parkway Theater in Oakland will be showing the new film on Friday.

The movie will be shown at the Fairfax in Marin County and possibly the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.

Camera 3 in San Jose

Cinema West theaters:
Martinez
Livermore
Fairfax
Petaluma
Sonoma
Folsom

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