People crowded into Cinema Village, a New York City movie theater, and others like it across America to see the controversial comedy The Interview, not to just to enjoy a movie but to display patriotism and celebrate freedom of expression.
Cinema Village manager Lee Peterson told INSIDE EDITION, "Reaction has been incredible. It was sold out all day yesterday. People have been thanking us for showing the movie, it has been incredible."
From coast to coast, sellout crowds lined up at 331 mostly independent theaters.
Seth Rogen, the movie's star and co-director made a surprise appearance at his local theater in Los Angeles. He told the audience, "We just wanted to say 'Thank You.' If it wasn't for theaters like this, and people like you, this literally would not be [expletive] happening right now."
Sony initially scrapped The Interview's release but in a dramatic turnaround released it online on Google Play, YouTube and XBox, and at independent theaters.
President Obama, who was on vacation in Hawaii, hailed the decision, saying, “I'm glad it is being released!”
So, after all the hype and publicity, the reviews finally are coming in.
IGN Entertainment Editor Roth Cornet told INSIDE EDITION, "I think there is an unrealistic expectation because of all of the controversy that this is going to be sharply insightful and brilliant. But, if you know Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the writing / directing team, they are silly, humorous, vulgar, crass, stoner humor. That is what they deliver, that is what this movie delivers."
Many are going to the movie just to be patriotic.
One moviegoer told INSIDE EDITION he was going to "Show support for the United States of America. For freedom, liberty, justice."
Another audience member told INSIDE EDITION, "No one should be telling Americans what they can or can't see."
A crowd in Austin, Texas, sang "Proud To Be An American" before the movie. While another crowd sang “God Bless America.”
Sony CEO Michael Lynton posted a video explaining their change of heart, saying, "This release represents our commitment to our filmmakers and free speech."
But in another dramatic turnaround some security experts are now questioning if North Korea had anything to do with the cyber-attack.
Cyber security expert Bruce Schneier told INSIDE EDITION, “It's hard to see a lot of evidence that points to North Korea. This really looks like the work of hackers. It feels like a hack attack. The movie connection only appeared in the hackers demands after it was in the media."
Despite all the fervor, the revenue from 331 theaters is just a fraction of what would have been expected from a nationwide release.
Roth Cornet told INSIDE EDITION, "I think Sony is probably going to be happy that they are making any money off of this movie at this point, because a week ago they were just going to take a huge loss."