10:30 AM PT -- Seth Rogen tweeted about the news, writing, "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"
James Franco jokingly added, ""The Interview" starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco saved by President Obacco! I MEAN PRESIDENT OBAMA!!!!! Sorry!!!"
In a bizarre twist ... Sony has done an about face and it's green-lighting "The Interview" for theaters to run on XMAS day.
The CEO of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema tells TMZ .... Sony called Monday and said a copy of the film would be delivered Wednesday. The CEO -- was vague about extra security, but says it will run in more than 20 theaters, located in Texas, Colorado, Virginia, New York and more.
An Atlanta theater owner says he got a similar call and he plans on running it as well.
The Alamo group plans to make it a celebration, with margaritas ... which will probably make the movie better.
Would I Ever Work With Sony Again?
12/23/2014 6:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It was a simple question -- Would you ever work with Sony again? -- but Kevin Hart didn't answer ... or did he?
Hart -- who is easily the most talkative and approachable big celeb in town these days -- was leaving a club in Hollywood Monday night when our photog asked the question. It seems relevant, given that one Sony exec called Hart "a whore."
Hart, who initially came out swinging for "his brand" ... deflected our question in an interesting way.
Check it out.
I'm No Longer Kim Jong-un's Ally
... In Video Games, Anyway
12/23/2014 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Dennis Rodman no longer wants to be seen with Kim Jong-un -- at least not in a video game -- and he's threatening legal action if a video gamer doesn't make some big changes ... STAT.
The game is called "Glorious Leader!" -- and players can take on America as the N. Korean dictator or as his trusted ally, Rodman. The game was designed by Jeff Miller and his company, Moneyhorse ... and Dennis is not pleased with his role in the game.
TMZ obtained a letter Rodman's attorney sent to Miller ... demanding Dennis be removed from the game because it portrays him in a "negative light."
The letter makes it sound like Dennis has finally taken off the blinders when it comes to Kim Jong-un.
FUN FACT: Miller says he actually pitched the game to Sony execs in October -- before the hack went down. Pretty sure that's gonna be a pass now, dude.
System of a Down
Sony Wasn't Completely Wrong
To Pull 'The Interview'
12/22/2014 8:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Most of Hollywood is ripping Sony Pictures for its decision to pull "The Interview" from theaters -- but 2 guys from System of a Down understand why it had to be done.
Our photog spotted drummer John Dolmayan and bassist Shavo Odadjian in Santa Monica Saturday night -- and the guys stood up for Sony.
System is signed to Columbia Records -- which is owned by Sony -- and while John and Shavo aren't in total agreement with their company's decision ... they think the haters are forgetting one very important factor.
Watch their explanation ... might change your mind about Sony.
Sony Hacking Scandal
Dr. Evil Says ...
GOP is Giving Villains a Bad Name
12/21/2014 8:03 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Dr. Evil is scoffing at the Guardians of Peace for sheer laziness.
The "Austin Powers" super villain appeared on "Saturday Night Live" with some solid advice to the GOP ... "It's easy to kill a movie, just move it to January."
But the evil doc's real beef is purely domestic, and very political.
Mike Myers also awesomely takes a shot at one of his own stinkers.
Caves to More Hacker Demands
Wipes 'Interview' From Social Media
12/20/2014 11:16 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Looks like the "Guardians of Peace" scored another victory ... Sony quietly gave in to another hacker demand by wiping almost all traces of "The Interview" from its social media pages.
Hackers threatened top level Sony execs Friday saying, "We want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately."
The movie studio almost immediately obliged ... the movie's Twitter page no longer has any tweets, the Facebook page has been deleted and all "Interview" footage has been wiped from its YouTube page.
1:50 PM PST -- The hackers also released a message Saturday afternoon mocking the FBI ... saying, "The result of investigation by FBI is so excellent that you might have seen what we were doing with your own eyes. We congratulate you success. FBI is the BEST in the world."
They included a link to a weird YouTube video featuring a bunch of dancing happy faces titled "you are an idiot."
Stars and Scars
You Be the Judge
12/20/2014 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It's all about Sony this week, and America and freedom and losing. So we gotta ask ...
Sony Hacking Scandal
N Korea: If You Don't Believe We're Innocent
We'll Get You Again
12/20/2014 7:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
North Korean officials should bottle their gall and sell it ... because they now say the can prove they're clean in the Sony hacking scandal, and if we don't believe them there will be "serious consequences."
Pyongyang's official KCNA says they've proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. to get to the bottom of it.
The official warns, "The U.S. should bear in mind that it will face serious consequences in case it rejects our proposal for joint investigation."
The North Koreans now say the U.S. is slandering them.
It makes your head want to explode.
Jabs Prez Over Name Screw Up ...
'It's Franco, not Flacco!'
12/19/2014 12:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Listen up, President Obama ... Joe Flacco wants to make sure you know he's never been in "127 Hours" or "Spring Breakers" ... and he's definitely not the co-star of "The Interview."
POTUS made a huge flub during his news conference Friday -- mashing up James Franco's name with Joe's -- and the Ravens QB quickly responded.
The prez was talking about the Sony cyber attack and "The Interview" ... saying, "a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James FLACCO. I love Seth ... I love James."
Flacco razzed the president by tweeting, "@barackobama: It's James Franco, not James Flacco ;)" He also shouted out James ... welcoming him to the fam.
Still ... imagine Franco putting on the pads to take on J.J. Watt and the Texans this weekend. THAT would be awesome.
President Obama --
Sony Made The Wrong Call
12/19/2014 11:07 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
President Obama just threw down the gauntlet ... saying Sony blundered by pulling "The Interview."
It was inevitable that someone would ask Obama about the Sony mess at Friday's news conference and Obama didn't mince words. He wished out loud that Sony would have called him before making the call to yank the film.
The President's words are likely to cause major grief at the Sony lot ... especially with Sony pictures Chief Amy Pascal. It's a one-two punch ... the first at the hands of George Clooney.
Crisis Guru Judy Smith
In Sony Scandal
12/19/2014 10:42 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Judy Smith -- the inspiration behind the Olivia Pope character on "Scandal" -- is on the case ... the Sony case, TMZ has learned.
Sources connected with the studio tell us ... Smith has been quietly advising Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal. We're told her focus is dealing with the torrent of criticism over the studio dropping "The Interview."
Smith runs Smith & Company, one of the premiere crisis management firms in the country.
Our sources tell us Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts.
We're told Smith and other members of the Sony crisis team have been behind some of the recent messaging ... that this is not just a Sony issue but an industry issue ... which takes some of the heat off Sony.
We're also told the crisis team is actually pleased with George Clooney's attack as it relates to creative and powerful people in the entire industry -- not just Sony -- taking a stand.
And we're told the crisis team is also pushing the message ... Sony's decision was in large part to protect the safety and welfare of its employees.
We're told the ultimate mission is to somehow contain the PR fallout and navigate a way forward.
It's not handled for sure, at least not yet, but Smith knows what's up.
Hackers Make New Demands
On Sony Pictures
12/19/2014 8:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Sony hackers are not satisfied -- they've unleashed a new threat ... trying to ensure "The Interview" NEVER gets released in any format.
Several top level execs at Sony Pictures got the new message which reportedly said, "We want everything related to the movie, including its trailers, as well as its full version down from any website hosting them immediately."
They also demanded "The Interview" never come out on DVD, pay-per-view, or V.O.D.
CNN first reported the latest message ... which also reminds the Sony execs the hackers still have all of their "private and sensitive data."
The hackers told execs they'd made a "very wise" decision to cancel the release, and shouldn't make any new trouble for themselves.
North Korea Behind the Hack
... FBI Says
12/19/2014 9:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The FBI is confirming North Korea is responsible for the cyber attack on Sony Pictures -- and it has a ton of evidence to back it up.
The agency says the North Korean government's fingerprints are all over the attack -- which used specific malware and IP addresses connected to previous attacks ... that it knows were carried out by N. Korea.
The FBI is treating the hack as an act of terrorism intended to "inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves."
Additionally ... the FBI gives Sony a major pat on the back for reporting the attack within hours.