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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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December 23rd, 2014
04:47 PM ET

Atlanta theater owner: We're ready to screen 'The Interview'

(CNN) – "The Interview" is coming to theaters.

Sony reversed its decision Tuesday, announcing that it is excited to release the comedy about taking out North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. This comes after the studio became the victim of a hack attack that unleashed a trail of embarrassing Hollywood gossip.

The U.S. ultimately blamed that cyber attack on North Korea. It remains unclear whether a North Korea internet outage Monday was America firing back.

The White House did release a statement Tuesday reacting to Sony's about face, saying: "The President applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film. As the President made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression."

Many viewers may still have to wait for "The Interview" to come out on demand, since only a few independent theaters are planning to show the film, including Alamo Draft House in Texas and an art house theater in Atlanta.

"Last night we got the e-mail and the telephone call around 11:00 p.m. stating that they were ready to go on Christmas Day if we were ready," said Plaza Atlanta Theatre owner Michael Furlinger. "We said yes, and here we are."

Sony executive Jeff Wayne called Furlinger Tuesday night, an unusual move when it comes to film distribution. Wayne gave no explanation for the studio's reversal.

"(He) knew that we were totally behind the film. And on the last go around we were the only ones still going to play it in Atlanta," said Furlinger. "So we kind of got first dibs on it."

Sony's original decision to cancel the film's release came after hackers sent a message threatening attacks on moviegoers, referencing the attacks of September 11th. Furlinger said his theater will have additional security.

"I don't expect to have a problem, but we would be foolish if we don't take some different precautions," said Furlinger, adding that they would closely monitor what can be carried into the theater.

And while some theatergoers are skittish about watching the satirical movie, Furlinger said many are enthusiastic.

"It's almost that they want to do their civic duty to come see this picture, because it's about never having censorship when it comes to films, books. It should be up to the individual to decide ... if they want to see the film, not someone else in another country," he said.

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