Updated 7:05 a.m. Wednesday | Posted 5:21 p.m. Tuesday
"The Interview" has been re-gifted to moviegoers as a limited Christmas Day release, putting back into select theaters the comedy that prompted an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled release.
Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said Tuesday that Seth Rogen's North Korea farce "will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day." He said Sony also is continuing its efforts to release the film on more platforms and in more theaters.
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"We have never given up on releasing 'The Interview,'" Lynton said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
The Film Society of Minneapolis and St. Paul will show the film at its St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis.
Society Executive Director Susan Smoluchowski said in a statement Tuesday the film is not typical of the material it usually screens, but "we made a decision to do so from a philosophical standpoint — that of artistic freedom, creative license and defense against censorship."
Elsewhere in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports the Cambridge Cinema 5, the North Branch Cinema Theater and the Quarry Cinema in Cold Spring will also screen the film.
The movie will also open at the Fargo Theater in Fargo.
More than 200 theaters will now show the movie on Christmas Day, a Sony Pictures representative told NPR.
One of the loudest critics of the film's shelving — President Barack Obama — hailed Sony's reversal.
"The president applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film," said Obama spokesman Eric Schultz. "As the president made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression. The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."
Rogen, who stars in the film he co-directed with Evan Goldberg, made his first public comments in a surreal ordeal that began with hackers leaking Sony executives' emails and culminated in an ongoing confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea. The FBI has said North Korea was "centrally involved" in the hacking attacks.
"The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up!" said Rogen on Twitter.
"VICTORY!!!!!!!" said James Franco, who co-stars in the film. "The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken."
North Korea's Internet was shut down in an apparent attack Monday, and continued to be roiled by intermittent outages Tuesday. That followed Obama's vow of a response to what he called North Korea's "cyber vandalism" of Sony. The White House and State Department have declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for North Korea's outages.
After hackers last Wednesday threatened terrorist attacks against theaters showing the film, the nation's major multiplex chains dropped "The Interview." Sony soon thereafter canceled the film's release altogether and removed mention of it from its websites.
But that decision drew widespread criticism, including from Obama, who chastised Sony for what he deemed "a mistake" that went against American principles of free speech. George Clooney also led a chorus pressuring for the movie's release and rallying against alleged corporate self-censorship.
Releasing "The Interview" could potentially cause a response from the hackers, who called themselves the Guardians of Peace. There have been none of the embarrassing data leaks of Sony emails since the movie's release was delayed. In a message last week to the studio, the hackers said Sony's data would be safe so long as the film was never distributed.
A limited release could potentially be followed by expansion into larger multiplex chains, a rollout that has been used in the past for controversial films including "Zero Dark Thirty." The country's top chains — Regal, AMC and Cinemark — didn't immediate comment Tuesday.
Independent theaters had shown a stronger appetite to screen "The Interview." Art House Convergence, which represents independent exhibitors, sent a letter Monday to Sony saying its theaters (comprising about 250 screens) wished to show the film.
In recent days, Sony has been trying to secure digital partners to help distribute "The Interview" either through streaming or video-on-demand. Such a multi-format release would be historic for Hollywood, whose studios have long protected the theatrical release window.
Colby Cohen, 29, of Atlanta came to the Plaza Theatre shortly after 1 p.m. with a goal of buying five tickets for a Thursday showing. She said while she wanted to see the film in the first place, the circumstances "completely changes things."
"I want to see it a lot more," said Cohen. "I'm going to get to fight terrorism on Christmas Day now."
MPR News' Euan Kerr contributed to this report.