The raucous first trailer for The Interview, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco conspire to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, irked the rogue nation so much that it unofficially denounced the comedy then formally filed a complaint with the UN over its content, the mass distribution of which a spokesperson for North Korea equated to “an act of war.” Given that politically charged background, it’s quite amusing that Sony Pictures has seen fit to move it from its October 10th date to December 25th.
Rory Bruer, president of Sony’s Worldwide Distribution, spoke for the studio in an official statement, which read as follows:
“The combination of Seth, Evan, and James is pure comedic magic. In our early screenings of The Interview, we’ve seen that they’ve delivered yet again, and we’re thrilled to be making the move to Christmas – one of the most important moviegoing days of the year and the perfect date to show off their brand of comedy.”
Because nothing shouts “happy holidays” quite like an R-rated comedy that depicts a murder plot against a living foreign leader, right? To be fair, the trailer for The Interview gave the impression that screenwriter Dan Sterling and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are more satirizing U.S. foreign policy as a whole than just taking a shot at the leader of North Korea. The story centers on a talk show host (Franco) and his producer (Rogen) who travel to North Korea for an interview with Kim, only to find themselves enlisted by the CIA to kill him. However, even if the comedy is even-handed in terms of its political skewering, The Interview certainly hasn’t helped to strengthen notoriously strained diplomatic ties between the U.S. and North Korea.
Sony Pictures previously had Cameron Crowe’s untitled romantic comedy scheduled for the Christmas Day slot, but the studio delayed that title to next summer after Crowe voiced concerns over finishing the film in time.
Now, The Interview is set to go up against Tim Burton’s buzzy Margaret Keane biopic Big Eyes, fellow raunchy comedy Hot Tub Time Machine 2, big-budgeted musical fantasy Into the Woods, civil rights biopic Selma and the Angelina Jolie-directed war drama Unbroken, which centers on Louis Zamperini. Rest assured, there’s no way that all of those movies are going to stay in the overbooked slot – but what will move? My money’s on the Hot Tub Time Machine sequel, seeing as it can still do big business in the spring and isn’t gunning for any Oscars.