When Belcourt Theatre artistic director Toby Leonard wrote on his Facebook page this morning, “Today should prove to be a very interesting day,” we knew something was up. Yesterday, there was an open letter issued by Art House Convergence, a collective of independent theaters of which The Belcourt is a founding member, telling Sony its members stood together in wanting to screen The Interview. Earlier this month, Sony pulled plans to release the film after hackers threatened attacks on theaters.
Then this morning, Variety reported that the film would indeed screen in select theaters. Before we could put two-and-two together, the Belcourt sent an adjusted schedule to press with news that “Due to today’s late-breaking release of the much-discussed film THE INTERVIEW, we have adjusted our showtimes to accommodate an opening this Thursday, Dec 25.” Leonard’s second status update of the day appeared shortly after: “Merry Christmas. (head hits desk),” with a link to the Belcourt’s web site and schedule for The Interview. By the looks of it, he clearly had his work cut out for him working the screening in. Beginning Christmas Day, December 25 at 1:30 and 7:00 p.m., the film will screen multiple times everyday — as many as four times over the weekend — through New Year’s Day. See the full schedule here.
The Franklin Theatre will also screen the film beginning at 10 p.m. on Christmas night, with additional screenings each night at 10 p.m. through New Year’s Eve.
Belcourt executive director Stephanie Silverman issued this statement on the Belcourt’s web site:
Today, with the permission of Sony Pictures, the Belcourt Theatre joins with a number of other independent theatres across the country to screen THE INTERVIEW. The Belcourt plans to open the movie on Thursday, Dec. 25. Showtimes are posted and tickets are now on sale at our website, www.belcourt.org.
As one of the many American art house theatres behind an open letter to Sony offering to show THE INTERVIEW, our decision to screen it was made thoughtfully and seriously. As an art house, we are uniquely positioned to understand the important of showing films that give voice to diverse and sometimes controversial perspectives. While THE INTERVIEW was never initially slated as part of programming, the dramatic events of recent days have shifted the conversation beyond this specific movie. The context is now about audiences’ right to see a film—any film.
I, my Belcourt colleagues, and the entire art house community have great empathy for Sony and our exhibition brothers and sisters who had to make some initial difficult calls. The release this week of THE INTERVIEW underscores the fundamental importance of freedom of expression in our industry and for our audience
The Belcourt is a Nashville treasure, one we’re honored every day to have in our community. Today, we’re particularly proud of it, and its role nationally as a leader in stressing the importance of freedom of expression without fear.