Aspen might have to wait for ‘The Interview’
With Sony Pictures’ announcement Tuesday that “The Interview” will be screened in select U.S. cinemas, does that mean it will come to Aspen?
That’s a question an executive at Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Theatres, which owns the Isis Theater in Aspen, wasn’t prepared to answer.
“We haven’t determined anything yet,” said Alan Stokes, vice president of film marketing and advertising for Metropolitan Theatres. “I don’t think we have any indication right now.”
Stokes declined to comment further. Currently, the four-screen cinema has four films slated for Christmas Day, when “The Interview” also makes its debut.
Sony’s announcement was an about-face that came after it would be shelving the satirical comedy, which stars Seth Rogan and James Franco, about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea. National media outlets reported the movie would be shown in various theaters throughout the U.S., including Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins and Alamo Drafthouse in Littleton.
Bob Ezra, who co-owns the single-screen Crystal Theatre in Carbondale with his wife, already has the motion picture “Wild” showing through New Year’s Day. He said he “would certainly consider” showing “The Interview,” but he also noted he understood Sony’s initial decision to pull the movie.
“I thought their biggest reason for not releasing it was the big chains wouldn’t play it, and it might jeopardize attendance for other movies,” he said. “And that’s a valid concern for a business.”
Major theater chains had pulled the film after North Korean hackers issued threats of unleashing a hacker attack that would be on a similar scale as Sept. 11. One of chains was Connecticut-based Bow Tie Cinemas, which owns Movieland in El Jebel. Variety.com reported last week that Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss said, “The safety and comfort of our patrons is foremost in our minds.” A Bow Tie official did not return a message Tuesday from The Aspen Times.
Ezra noted that the film hasn’t received rave reviews, but that won’t hurt it at the box office given the attention “The Interview” has gotten.
“It’s supposed to be not the greatest movie, but certainly all of this publicity has made it the must-see movie right now,” he said. “And it would really be dumb for North Korea to do anything because it virtually would be an act of war — and they’d be in big trouble.”
But U.S.-made movies pushing the limits in the name of comedic American jingoism have succeeded before, Ezra said.
“We certainly liked ‘Team America,’” he chuckled.
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The Wheeler Opera House will remain dark into 2021, with current COVID-19 public health orders in place. Meanwhile, the masonry work on the exterior of the building will continue into July.