UPDATE NO. 2, DEC. 23, 8:40 P.M.: The Frida Cinema not only has The Interview opening Christmas day at the Fiesta Twin in Santa Ana–click here for the deets–but a certain Weekling is in talks to join Frida's Logan Crow for a discussion about art and censorship at the 4:30 p.m. showing.
Stay tuned, comrades.
UPDATE NO. 1, DEC. 23, 3:26 P.M.: UltraLuxe Anaheim Cinemas in Gardenwalk on West Katella Avenue near the Disney resort tells the Weekly it now has tickets on sale for The Interview opening Christmas day. And the historic Lido Theater in Newport Beach will start screening the film on Friday.
Elsewhere, Regency Theatres' University Village 10 in Riverside and Perris 10 in Perris will open The Interview Thursday, and Palme D'Or in Palm Desert will have two Christmas night screenings.
President Barack Obama, who had been critical of Sony pulling the picture, "applauds" the
studio's decision to now release the film, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
"As the president made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression," Schultz said. "The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."
ORIGINAL POST, DEC. 23, 1:51 P.M.: Mere hours after Sony Pictures revealed it will make The Interview available to theaters that want to show it on Christmas day as originally scheduled, Regency Theatres confirms it will roll the international hot potato in Westminster Thursday.
"In Orange County, we were only able to book it into Westminster," Lyndon Golin, president of the cinema company with theaters in California, Las Vegas and Yuma, Arizona, tells the Weekly. "I am not sure about anyone else. Bookings were finished yesterday, so [we're] trying to fit this in where possible."
Regency's Westminster 10 is at 6721 Westminster Blvd. (Click HERE.)
There was apparently a frenzy among independent theater owners and programmers to book The Interview after Sony revealed it would make the James Franco-Seth Rogen comedy available to 250 theaters.
"In short, we are working on it," writes Logan Crow, who presents Frida Cinema programs at the Fiesta Twin on Fourth Street in Santa Ana, in an email to the Weekly. "Sony has been BOMBARDED, as you can well imagine, with phone calls today. But we are working on it, and hope to have news by the end of the day."
Crow said the "worst case scenario" would be the Frida failing to get The Interview because another Orange County theater received exclusive rights to a Christmas Day opening.
"[S]o either way, this film WILL get shown!!!" Crow vowed.
Elsewhere in Southern California, the Los Feliz Cinema 3 and Mission Grove Riverside say they will be showing The Interview on Christmas Day at to-be-determined times. The nonprofit Cinefamily posted on Twitter that it would like to show the film at The Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles.
Also via Twitter, Laemmle Theatres stated it had "other film commitments" on Christmas, but The Interview "will likely start" on Wednesday, Dec. 31, in North Hollywood (Laemmle NoHo7). There is also talk of a video-on-demand release.
Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse was the first to confirm it will show The Interview on Christmas at its theaters around the country. The Plaza in Atlanta later followed suit. And Art House Convergence, which represents 250 independent theaters around the country, says it is trying to get a piece of the action.
Sony's news received enthusiastic support from the film's two stars, based on their social media activity this morning.
"The people have spoken!" wrote Rogen. "Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! `The Interview' will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"
"VICTORY!!!!!!! The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!! SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters on XMAS DAY!" offered Franco on his Instagram page.
Franco and Rogen had cancelled media appearance in the wake of Sony originally yanking the picture because major theater chains around the country refused to show it.
Sony Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton hints in a statement that the majors may soon reconsider.
"I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month," Lynton said today. "While we hope this is only the first step of the film's release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech."