LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The highly anticipated release of Sony Pictures Enterainments “The Interview” opened in theaters Thursday in Los Angeles County.

Sony originally announced the cancellation of the controversial film last week, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen, after several of the largest movie theater chains refused to show it.

The fictional story focuses around plans to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, which sparked the controversial attack.

Several Southland theaters such as Regency Theaters and Tristone Cinemas in Riverside, and Vintage Cinemas in Los Feliz, plan to show a screening of the comedy throughout the day.

The Silent Movie Theater located in the Fairfax District held a 12:30 a.m. screening of the film.

The film will also be shown at theaters in Agoura Hills, Azusa, Commerce, Granada Hills, Lancaster, Van Nuys, Westminster and Westwood.

“It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially give the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech,” Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Lynton said. “We chose the path of digital distribution first as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release.”

On Wednesday morning, the film was made available to rent for $5.99, and to purchase for $14.99, online in high definition on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video, Kernel and a Sony website called seetheinterview.com.

The entertainment company was hacked by a group who identified themselves as “Guardians of Peace” in a massive cyber attack, which also threatened theaters and moviegoers citing the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attack.

According to FBI officials, the North Korean government was responsible for the cyber attack and the threats that followed.

Authorities explained a new investigation focused on a former employee who has ties to the terrorist group.

The Los Angeles Police Department explained no special security arrangements have been issued for any theaters that plan to show the screening on Christmas day.

Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood reported they will have showings of the comedy on New Year’s Eve.

While critics generally lambasted the film, KCAL9’s political reporter Dave Bryan found enthusiastic fans on Christmas day and evening.

He reported from outside the Crest Theater where he said a long line stretched down the block on a blustery night in Westwood.

“I wasn’t planning to see it,” said one woman, “but no tinhorn dictator is going to tell me what second-rate comedy I can’t go and see.”

Film producer David Permut said audiences for their money’s worth.

“In the spirit of Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello — the greats from the past, Martin and Lewis — Seth Rogen and James Franco together are fantastic. This (a souvenir cup from the movie) is going to end up in the Smithsonian someday I have a feeling.”

Another patron called the film “incredibly dumb” but felt he needed to see it as part of his “patriotic duty.”

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