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Last Update on December 18, 2014 08:09 GMT

"THE INTERVIEW" RELEASE CANCELED

NEW YORK (AP) -- In the showdown over "The Interview," Sony has blinked. The studio has taken the unprecedented step of pulling the comedy from theaters -- a little more than a week before it was supposed to make its debut. The move was made in the wave of a huge data hack at the studio and threats from the hackers that there'd be 9/11 type attacks at theaters that show it. The U.S. government says it has traced the hacking attack to North Korea. The movie depicts a planned assassination attempt against that country's communist leader. As the threat of a possible attack continued, Sony told theater chains they would allow them to pass on showing the film. And yesterday, as a number of chains decided to take Sony's hint, the studio announced it was pulling the release.

AP Entertainment Editor Oscar Wells Gabriel reports the move to shelve "The Interview" caps a challenging period for executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

THE INTERVIEW - FUTURE?

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It has never happened before. Now Sony gets to write the book on what to do with a feature release that never makes it into theaters. Given the circumstances under which "The Interview" was pulled, the studio isn't saying much about its plans for the film. There's talk that Sony may find an outlet for the movie through video-on-demand. In the past, studios have been reluctant to send big-time movies directly to the VOD pipeline, because theaters would be cut out of the mix. Sony would lose tens of millions by not releasing the film to theaters. The film had a budget of about $40 million -- and it was expected to recoup about 75 percent of that with its first weekend in theaters.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It seems everyone has something to say about Sony's decision to pull the plug on "The Interview." Director Michael Moore expressed his dissatisfaction online. In a tweet addressed to the "Sony Hackers," Moore says: "Now that u run Hollywood, I'd also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers. Also, Sony Hackers - I really liked Tyler Perry in "Gone Girl" so hold off on doing anything yet with Madea." Donald Trump denounced Sony execs as having "absolutely no courage or guts." Steve Carell calls it a "sad day for creative expression." Late night comedy show host Jimmy Kimmel describes the pulling of "The Interview" as "an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent." And Judd Apatow predicts the pulling "only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it."

NEW YORK (AP) -- Some say Sony was cowardly to cave in to pressure. Others wonder why the studio would even make the movie in the first place. Just some of the reaction on the street to the news that "The Interview" is being pulled from movie screens because of threats made by a hacker group. Mousa Jatta says as far as the hackers go, she is "pretty sure they won" the showdown. But Sharon Watts says if they movie was going to be released, she "would take the chance" and go. Rudy Breedy questioned the very making of the movie, noting "if another country or place had made a movie about this similar plot of killing the President of the United States we'd all be upset."

In New York, movie-goer Mousa Jaffa says with the cancellation of "The Interview," the Sony hackers got what they wanted.

<<CUT ..007 (12/18/14)>> 00:08 "that stop me"

Sharon Watts, movie-goer

Movie-goer Sharon Watts says she wouldn't have been afraid to see the movie "The Interview."

<<CUT ..008 (12/18/14)>> 00:11 ""

Scene from movie "The Interview"

This is a scene from the movie "The Interview," which had its release canceled by Sony Pictures.

TEAM OSCAR TO RETURN

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Oscars won't just be about established filmmakers. Producers for the Academy Awards ceremony say as many as six aspiring filmmakers will appear in next year's Oscar's event. Channing Tatum will serve as spokesman for the project, called Team Oscar, which invites young filmmakers to help with the production. Those who want to take part can submit a 60-second video through the Oscars' Facebook page to audition. Winners will get a trip to Los Angeles -- and take part in the awards ceremony by being Oscar toters.

REALITY TV STAR WILL HADEN INDICTED ON RAPE CHARGES

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- One of the stars of "Sons of Guns" is facing some serious legal trouble. A grand jury in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, has indicted Will Hayden on three counts of rape. The charges involve two victims. The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge reports Hayden faces two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. The indictment says one of the cases involves assaults that allegedly began a few days after one victim turned 11. Hayden is also accused of raping a woman in the early 1990s. That incident resulted in a charge of forcible rape.

Rewind Time

December 18, 2014 08:09 GMT

Today is Thursday, Dec. 18, the 352nd day of 2014. There are 13 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 18, 1944, in a pair of related rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Korematsu v. United States, upheld, 6-3, the government's wartime evacuation of people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens, from the West Coast (the decision was limited to the exclusion policy, and did not take up the issue of internment), while in Ex parte Endo, the justices unanimously agreed that "concededly loyal" Americans of Japanese ancestry could not continue to be detained. (Both rulings came a day after the U.S. Department of War said it was lifting the internment policy.)

On this date:

In 1787, New Jersey became the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1863, in a speech to the Prussian Parliament, Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck declared, "Politics is not an exact science."

In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery, was declared in effect by Secretary of State William H. Seward.

In 1892, Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia.

In 1912, fossil collector Charles Dawson reported to the Geological Society of London his discovery of supposed early human remains at a gravel pit in Piltdown. (More than four decades later, Piltdown Man was exposed as a hoax.)

In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson, widowed the year before, married Edith Bolling Galt at her Washington home.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered secret preparations for Nazi Germany to invade the Soviet Union. (Operation Barbarossa was launched in June 1941.)

In 1958, the world's first communications satellite, SCORE (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), nicknamed "Chatterbox," was launched by the United States aboard an Atlas rocket.

In 1969, Britain's House of Lords joined the House of Commons in making permanent a 1965 ban on the death penalty for murder.

In 1972, the United States began heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets during the Vietnam War. (The bombardment ended 11 days later.)

In 1980, former Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin died at age 76.

In 1992, Kim Young-sam was elected South Korea's first civilian president in three decades.

Ten years ago: The former Iraqi general known as "Chemical Ali," Ali Hassan al-Majid (ah-LEE' hah-SAHN' ahl mah-ZHEED'), went before a tribunal of judges in the first investigative hearings of former members of Saddam Hussein's regime. (Al-Majid was executed in Jan. 2010.) Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet (pee-noh-CHET') was hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

Five years ago: The infamous iron sign bearing the Nazis' cynical slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) that spanned the main entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp in Poland was stolen. (The sign was later recovered; six suspects in the theft were later jailed.) Jon and Kate Gosselin officially divorced after 10 years of marriage, eight children and a year of tabloid headlines.

One year ago: A presidential advisory panel released a report recommending sweeping changes to government surveillance programs, including limiting the bulk collection of Americans' phone records by stripping the National Security Agency of its ability to store that data in its own facilities. Ronnie Biggs, 84, known for his role in Britain's 1963 Great Train Robbery, died in London.

Today's Birthdays: Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is 87. Actor-producer Roger Smith is 82. Blues musician Lonnie Brooks is 81. Actor Roger Mosley is 76. Rock singer-musician Keith Richards is 71. Writer-director Alan Rudolph is 71. Movie producer-director Steven Spielberg is 68. Blues artist Ron Piazza is 67. Movie director Gillian Armstrong is 64. Movie reviewer Leonard Maltin is 64. Rock musician Elliot Easton is 61. Actor Ray Liotta is 59. Comedian Ron White is 58. Actor Brad Pitt is 51. Professional wrestler-turned-actor "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is 50. Actor Shawn Christian is 49. Actress Rachel Griffiths is 46. Singer Alejandro Sanz is 46. Country/rap singer Cowboy Troy is 44. Rapper DMX is 44. International Tennis Hall of Famer Arantxa Sanchez Vicario is 43. DJ Lethal (Limp Bizkit) is 42. Pop singer Sia is 39. Country singer Randy Houser is 38. Actor Josh Dallas is 36. Actress Katie Holmes is 36. Singer Christina Aguilera is 34. Christian rock musician Dave Luetkenhoelter (Kutless) is 32. Actress Ashley Benson is 25. Actress-singer Bridgit Mendler is 22. Actress Isabella Cramp (TV: "The Neighbors") is 10.

Thought for Today: "It's a complex fate, being an American." -- Henry James, American author (1843-1916).

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