Controversy Sells: Boston Area Showings of ‘The Interview’ Expected to Sell Out

Apple Cinemas, an independent theater in Cambridge, is showing “The Interview’’ seven times on Thursday.
Apple Cinemas, an independent theater in Cambridge, is showing “The Interview’’ seven times on Thursday. –Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe

Hoping for a belly of laughs and a side of freedom, moviegoers flocked to Apple Cinemas in Cambridge on Christmas day to watch the controversial film “The Interview.’’

Apple Cinemas was the only movie theater in the Boston area to show the film on Thursday, the movie’s originally scheduled release day. As of 1:30 p.m., Apple Cinemas manager Kiara Pierce said the 1:30, 1:50, and 6:45 showings were all sold out. She said all of today’s showings would “probably’’ sell out by their show times.

The North Korea-mocking and Kim Jong Un-assassinating farce, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, has been the subject of international interest after hackers released a trove of information from Sony, the makers of the movie. The FBI said it had evidence that North Korea was behind the attack (although experts are less convinced).

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Sony canceled the release of the movie last week amid fears of further hacks or attacks, but reversed its decision earlier this week. The company released the film online and allowed independent theaters — like Apple Cinemas — to choose to screen the movie.

Hopeful moviegoers crowded in the lobby and formed a line extending outside the door, Pierce said.

“I just see a lot of people excited to see this movie and can’t wait to get into the theater,’’ Pierce said.

Somerville Theater, another local independent cinema, plans to show “The Interview’’ next Friday, January 2.

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