Merrill Jarvis III, co-owner of several Burlington-area theaters, has just announced that he will screen The Interview
at the Palace 9
in South Burlington starting on December 31.
Last week, Sony Pictures cancelled the planned Christmas release of the Seth Rogen-James Franco buddy comedy after a group of hackers thought to be affiliated with the North Korean regime threatened terrorist violence against theaters. The film features a scene — leaked by the hackers — in which Korean leader Kim Jong-un is assassinated.
After public outcry about the censorship of the film, Sony announced today
that The Interview
will be available to theaters after all. Whether it will play at multiplex mega-chains like Regal Cinemas remains uncertain. What is
certain is that Burlingtonians will get a look.
And Jarvis says that anyone who shows up with a copy of the U.S. Constitution gets a free popcorn.
"We need to understand our rights. I'm proud to be an American on the front line against terrorism," he says.
Of course, the Palace will also "be diligent" in protecting its patrons, Jarvis promises. Backpacks won't be allowed in the theater, and it's "possible" he'll enlist extra security.
Ever since the release was cancelled, Jarvis says, he's been receiving emails from patrons "telling us that they support us. They want to see the film."
As we saw last spring
, a lot of Vermonters already supported Rogen, who cowrote and codirected The Interview
. Here's a "Stuck in Vermont" video of his jovial appearance at Merrill's Roxy Cinemas.
Jarvis says he's showing the film exclusively at the Palace because the Roxy and Majestic 10 "have commitments to the films we're playing now." The Interview
's cancellation required a reshuffling of the all-important holiday schedule; its reappearance means a new one.
"I feel bad for Sony Pictures," Jarvis says of the studio, which has seen sensitive emails and other data leaked by the hackers and published in the news media over the past month. "They're caught in the middle. It's like a bad movie."
Let's hope The Interview
is a good one. But either way, we're overjoyed to have the chance to find out.