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Sony confirms Kim film release


Students use computers in a classroom at the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang (AP)

Students use computers in a classroom at the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang (AP)

Students use computers in a classroom at the Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang (AP)

Sony has announced a limited cinema release of The Interview, putting the comedy back on to screens after a huge international row.

Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive Michael Lynton said Seth Rogen's North Korea farce "will be in a number of cinemas on Christmas Day".

He said Sony is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more cinemas.

Moviegoers celebrated the abrupt change of fortune for a film that had appeared doomed, as the title started popping up in the listings of a handful of independent cinemas.

After hackers last Wednesday threatened violence against cinemas showing the film, the nation's largest chains dropped the film, and Sony soon cancelled the film's release altogether.

That decision drew widespread criticism, including from President Barack Obama.

The FBI has said the cyber attacks on Sony came from North Korea.

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Today's development came after several North Korean websites suffered an hours-long shutdown that followed a US vow to respond to the cyber attack on Sony.

The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the US government was responsible for the internet shutdown in one of the least-wired and poorest countries in the world.

Though it denies responsibility for the Sony hack, Pyongyang has called it a "righteous deed".

It has made clear its fury over The Interview, a comedy that depicts the assassination of the North's authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, the head of a 1.2 million-man army and the focus of an intense cult of personality.

Celebrities applauded Sony's announcement on the Seth Rogen and James Franco film.

- "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!" - Rogen on Twitter.

- "VICTORY!!!!!!! The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!! SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters on XMAS DAY! CELEBRATING!!!!! "The Interview" starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco saved by President Obacco! I MEAN PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!! Sorry!!!" - Franco on Instagram.

- "Can't wait for Ben Affleck's film about the making, marketing and release of "The Interview." #OscarWatch2019" - "Night at the Museum" director Shawn Levy on Twitter.

- "We are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech." - Sony Entertainment chief Michael Lynton in a statement.

- "''The Interview" to screen Xmas day in Austin & Atlanta. So our free speech is finally safe again. Glad that's over. #Sony" - Actor Harry Shearer on Twitter.

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