Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced a limited theatrical release of "The Interview" beginning Thursday, putting the comedy back into theaters.
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.
Moviegoers celebrated the abrupt change of fortune for a film that appeared doomed, as the film began popping up in the listings of a handful of independent theaters Tuesday.
Earlier, the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas and the Plaza Theater in Atlanta announced on social media that they had the green light from Sony to screen the film.
Tim League, founder of The Alamo Drafthouse, tweeted: "Breaking news: Sony has authorized screenings of THE INTERVIEW on Christmas Day. We are making shows available within the hour. #Victory"
The Plaza Theater in Atlanta also announced the news via Twitter: "Breaking Plaza News: The Interview will open Exclusive on 12/25 . The Plaza will be one of the few theaters in the nation to open the film."
Seth Rogen, who stars in the film with James Franco, reacted to the news via Twitter: "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!"
Such a release would enable "The Interview" to open in select theaters and avoid the national chains that dropped the North Korea satire last week.
Sony's cancellation of the movie following terrorist threats from hackers drew widespread criticism,including from President Barack Obama.
The FBI has said the attacks on Sony came from North Korea.
On Monday, Sony's attorney, David Boies, hinted that the film would be released.
"Sony only delayed this," Boies said, adding, "Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed."
On Monday, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman and Tony Kushner were among the writers who signed a PEN American Center petition urging Sony Pictures to make "The Interview" widely available.
Monday's petition from PEN, a literary and human rights organization, said that pulling "The Interview" would be a "lasting blow" to free expression.
Rushdie, a former PEN president, faced dire threats 25 years ago after the publication of "The Satanic Verses." The novel was condemned as blasphemous by some Muslims, and Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie's death. The PEN petition noted that "The Satanic Verses" continued to be published and sold.
Meanwhile, key North Korean websites were back online Tuesday after an hours-long shutdown that followed a U.S. vow to respond to the crippling cyberattack on Sony.
The White House and the State Department declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for the Internet shutdown in one of the least-wired and poorest countries in the world.