UPDATE 12-17-14 : Sony has cancelled the New York premiere of the movie the Interview according to USAToday and is leaving it up to theatre owners to decide if they want to show the film. The cost of this move as well as if they have insurance to cover it is unknown, although it will likely have to be reported in Sony’s next regulatory filing.
Depending on where the attacks are originating from, the source of the attacks may never be found and if they are found, the bad guys may never be arrested.
According to USAToday, the GOP released a new message this past Monday warning of a 9-11 style attack on movie theaters screening The Interview. The GOP said:
The GOP’s message warned potential viewers, “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”
“The world will be full of fear,” the message said, adding, “Remember the 11th of September 2001.”
Whether there is any actual danger, given the lack of information about who originally hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment or who is behind the messages about the hack, is unclear.
Given the vagueness of the threat, it is not clear what actions can be taken. If Sony were to pull the picture, it would cost them tens of millions of dollars and their likely is no insurance that would cover it. There probably is also no insurance available to Sony to cover something happening at a theater showing the Sony movie in question.
As a movie theater owner, I assume you would definitely increase security. If they did not in the light of this threat and something happens, they would get sued into outer space. The owners of the Aurora movie theaters in Colorado are currently in the middle of that exactly litigation after James Holmes shot up the place in 2012. The plaintiffs say that should have known that a crazy person might lob tear gas grenades into the theater and then kill 12 people and injure 70. There was never any direct threat in that case and they are still getting sued.
Obviously, what these hackers want to do it hurt Sony financially, trying to get people to avoid those theaters showing that film out of fear. Only time will tell if that works.
On an other Sony note, apparently the hackers did try to extort money out of Sony before they released the files, but Sony declined.