Cineplex pulls 'The Interview' to maintain guest 'safety and security'

TORONTO – Canada’s largest theatre chain has announced it will postpone screening “The Interview” after the controversial comedy was the target of terrorist threats.

A representative for Cineplex Entertainment (TSX:CGX) said in a statement that the company “takes seriously its commitment to the freedom of artistic expression, but we want to reassure our guests and staff that their safety and security is our No. 1 priority.”

The comedy stars Vancouver’s Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A shadowy group calling themselves Guardians of Peace have threatened moviegoers with violence similar to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Cineplex operates 161 theatres in Canada, or nearly 80 per cent of the country’s cinema market.

“We look forward to a time when this situation is resolved and those responsible are apprehended,” said Pat Marshall, Cineplex’s vice-president of communications and investor relations, in a statement.

In the U.S., Regal Cinemas, AMC and Cinemark also announced they were pulling the movie, which was originally planned for a Christmas Day release.

Sony did not immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday.