On Christmas Day, without incident, Grand Cinema Theatres in New London ran the controversial film “The Interview.”
The movie is an R-rated comedy about two TV journalists who travel across the world to interview North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who happens to be a fan of their TV show, “The Interview.” Before their departure, the pair are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Jong-un.
Prior to the release date, the movie was canceled by Sony Entertainment, who received a threat to theatres by a group of computer terrorists. The decision drew widespread criticism, including that of President Barack Obama, who said Sony made a mistake by going against free speech.
Following the president’s statement, New London’s Grand Cinema was one of more than 300 independent theaters in the nation to show the film. Three thousand theatres were slated to host the release before the terrorist threat occurred.
Cinema Manager Sydni Williams reported that the Christmas Day movie premiere came and went without incident.
“There were zero negative comments or anyone who was upset about our running it; no negative phone calls,” Williams said.
The day proved to be full of positive energy and Williams said it was a good experience for her.
“Some people even said, ‘New London is famous nationwide,’ which gave my sister Bailey and I a big chuckle.”
Prior to the movie’s opening day, New London Police Chief Jeff Schlueter paid a visit to the theatre management staff.
“He was really great,” Williams said.
She said that he was not anticipating any problems, but playing it safe.
“He let us know that certain patrol cars would stay in the area more than usual, and gave me his cell phone number. That was really cool of him,” Williams said.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released a statement saying that no credible threats were confirmed.
Adding to the hype created by national news media, Williams was inundated Dec. 24 by television and radio stations.
“Five television crews showed up at approximately the same time,” Williams said, who said it was ‘crazy wild.’
Besides New London, 12 Wisconsin theatres ran the film.
“This movie was good for our business,” Williams said, “which is always a good thing.”
On Christmas Day, more than 400 people came to watch the film, many to support New London theatre’s decision to show the movie.