GREENSBORO, N.C. - This Christmas, a day filled with gift giving and spending time with family and friends, often the day ultimately ends with a trip to the movies. At the Carousel Cinemas in Greensboro, one movie filled the seats more than any other.
"We had planned on opening the film today from the beginning, and then all the controversy started and Sony pulled the film," said Tony Fernandez, floor manager at the theater.
Fernandez, as you may have guessed, is referring to 'The Interview,' a movie where two Americans travel to North Korea on a mission to assassinate Kim Jong-Un.
After a monumental hack, which the FBI blamed on North Korea, and continued threats against theaters that decided to show the film, Sony pulled the film. However, after backlash from American leaders, they ultimately decided to release it.
"When we had a chance to actually show the film, we jumped at the chance," said Fernandez. "We've had four shows today, and each show has sold out."
Yet, some said the controversy and hype surrounding the movie ended up hurting its ratings.
"I don't think it really lived up to the controversy, since it's kind of just a typical kind of buddy comedy," said Jeremy Pierce, who streamed the movie early Christmas Day. "I did not know what this movie was about aside from the kind of controversial kind of story, but the controversy obviously made me want to see it even more."
Some Triad residents, like Brodie Loman, were angered when Sony originally said they were not going to release the film. However, when he found out that the Carousel Cinemas, a privately owned theater, was going to show it, he and his family bought tickets for opening day.
"I thought it was a lot funnier than I expected. I thought it was going to be pretty good, but it was really good," said Loman. "I could see why Kim Jung Un would be upset. It's kind of not flattering for him."
"It's just a thing of the times now, how important movies and stuff like that are to people," Loman continued. "They have a much bigger impact than people realize when they're making them."
If you have not been able to get tickets, or would rather view the movie from home, Sony has arranged to release the film via streaming, through Google Play and YouTube.