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'The Interview' film release canceled by Sony amid violent threats from hackers

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Sony Pictures has decided to cancel the release of "The Interview" after threats of violence from a group of hackers led to major cinema chains pulling its screenings.

Yahoo News reports the movie company took the decision after North America's biggest chains confirmed they would not screen the film, which was due for release on Christmas Day.

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that chains Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment were all expected to announce they will not be show the film following threats of violence from hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace.

The film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, has a storyline involving the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, which has led to the threats.

The Guardians of Peace on Tuesday issued threats of "9/11 like" attacks on movie theaters that screen the film, USA Today reports, with distributors Sony Pictures Entertainment saying it is supportive of any cinema chain that chooses to pull the film.

What's the fuss about?

In recent weeks, Sony Pictures has been targeted by hackers who have released several "data dumps" revealing private emails between executives criticizing movie stars and directors, according to the Mail Online.

There have been suggestions that the hacks are linked to the North Korean regime, which is apparently upset with the upcoming release of "The Interview" – due out Christmas Day – in which the CIA recruits two TV personalities to assassinate Kim Jong-Un after they secure an interview with the leader.

The BBC reports the threats made by The Guardians of Peace has led to the cancellation of the film's New York premiere, though its premiere in Los Angeles passed without incident Thursday.

The film has had mixed reviews, with Time Out giving it four stars, while The Wrap called it "meandering and bumbling."

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