Sony Hackers Threaten 9/11-Like Attack on Movie Theaters That Screen The Interview — Read the Threat Here

Lizzy Caplan with James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview
Sony hackers issue 9/11-like terrorist threat Ed Araquel/Columbia Pictures

The hackers behind the leaked Sony emails have escalated their threats. According to Variety, the Sony hackers have threatened a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco's movie The Interview, whose plot about the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is widely believed to be the reason for the hack.

"Warning," the threat begins. "We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places 'The Interview' be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."

Variety also reports that the hackers have released what they've deemed the "Christmas gift" of files. Although the content of the files remains unknown, Variety reports it's named "Michael Lynton," who is the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

During an interview on the Today show, producer Aaron Sorkin expressed his concern over the safety of those involved in the hack, revealing that execs and their children's lives have been threatened. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Sorkin wrote: "[The hackers] left another threat, this one accompanied by violent and disturbing imagery. ‘Not only you but your family will be in danger,’ read a message to all Sony employees. The Federal Bureau of Investigation won’t say much, but it says the hack is sophisticated and backed by a lot of money."

A special screening of the North Korean comedy was held in Los Angeles with no issues last week; however, the New York Post reports that the studio has scaled back on the upcoming premiere of the movie in New York City this Thursday.

Although the premiere is still scheduled to be held, Deadline reports that stars Franco and Rogen have pulled out of doing any press this week in light of the threat. The two were scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. A source tells Us Weekly, "They're genuinely worried. They're going to lay low. Nobody knows who is behind it truly and it's not worth the risk."

In June, North Korea called on the U.S. government to block the film's release or face a "decisive and merciless countermeasure." Following the threat, a spokesperson for the FBI told the Los Angeles Times: "The FBI is aware of recent threats and continues to work collaboratively with our partners to investigate the Sony attack."

North Korean officials have denied having any involvement in the hack.

The film is expected to hit theaters on Christmas Day.

Following the news, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement addressing the threat. "DHS is aware of a threat made online targeting movie theaters in the United States," the statement read. "We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States."

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