'The Interview' hits theaters for limited Christmas Day release

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The movie "The Interview" opened on Christmas Day, and the Minnesota screenings saw a high level of interest from movie-goers, with no apparent fallout resulting from the controversial plot. MPR News reports that theaters in the region that are showing the film are not beefing up security in response to the drama that has surrounded the comedy.

FOX 9 reported sellout crowds for the limited theatrical release at St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. The showings at the theater on the Minneapolis riverfront are sponsored by the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul, one of approximately 200 independent theaters screening the movie.

In a statement on its website, the Film Society noted that releasing the Sony Pictures film is in keeping with its mission. "Although this film may not be typical of the films we generally screen, we made a decision to do so from a philosophical standpoint - that of artistic freedom, creative license and defense against censorship," the statement read.

The Duluth News Tribune reported that the movie is playing at the Premiere Theatres in Cloquet and at the Ashland Bay Cinema, with Zinema 2 in Duluth planning to begin its run Jan. 2. The Fargo Forum reported that the Fargo Theatre was anticipating high demand for tickets as it opened the once-canceled comedy with multiple showings.

The Associated Press reported the Cambridge Cinema 5, the North Branch Cinema Theater and the Quarry Cinema in Cold Spring are also screening the film.

Sony initially had canceled distribution of the film in the wake of threats of terrorism, but on Tuesday announced there would be a limited theatrical release.

The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as journalists involved in a plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un. It was canceled in the wake of a cyberattack blamed on North Korea, which was followed by threats to theaters. Sony reauthorized the Christmas Day premiere on Tuesday.

CNN reported that "The Interview" is also now available to stream online. It was released on YouTube, Google Play, the Microsoft Xbox video game console, and a special Web site. It costs $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy.

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