More bad press for "The Interview": Today it is being reported that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s embattled comedy about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, which may have prompted the recent wave of Sony hacks, will not be released anywhere in Asia. According to the film’s website, the only countries in the Asia Pacific market that will screen the film are Australia and New Zealand.
"It was never going to be released in Japan," a source from Sony's Tokyo headquarters told The Hollywood Reporter. "Like some of those R-rated comedies that go down very well in the States, they don't work here and don't get released.” Sony has not commented on their official release plans for Asia at this time.
Despite denying involvement in the Sony leaks, North Korea has labeled the hacking a "righteous deed," and in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Pyongyang condemned the film as “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war." Meanwhile, a recent message from the anonymous hackers posted on the website GitHub threatens Sony with further repercussions if they refuse to cancel the film’s release, writing “Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!”
Internally, there have also been debates over whether the film goes too far. According to some leaked Sony documents dug up by Bloomberg, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai had previously expressed concerns over a scene that depicts the graphic death of the Kim Jong-Un character in a fiery explosion. Rogen and the film’s team ultimately decided to tone it down; As Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal writes in an email, “In shot #337 there is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh.”
Likely in an attempt to mitigate the continued stream of unfortunate presss surrounding the film, Sony also announced today that there would, somewhat ironically, be no interviews granted to journalists at the film’s premiere.