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'Team America' Is Benched: Won't Return To Theaters, Reports Say

An international police force (of puppets) won't be coming to a theater near you, as theaters have reportedly been told not to screen the film <em>Team America</em>, in response to the cancellation of <em>The Interview</em>.
Melinda Sue Gordon
AP/Paramount Pictures
An international police force (of puppets) won't be coming to a theater near you, as theaters have reportedly been told not to screen the film Team America, in response to the cancellation of The Interview.

One day after some theaters vowed to screen Team America: World Police in the place of The Interview, whose release was canceled Wednesday, word has emerged that Team America has also been pulled. Both films make light of North Korea and its leader.

Paramount Pictures has reportedly told theaters not to show Team America, one day after Sony Pictures said it has no plans for a wide release of The Interview, citing safety concerns over a threat against any theater that screens the film. That threat is believed to have come from the same group that hacked the studio's computer network last month.

"What a crazy week! Sorry folks no Team America," Alamo Drafthouse Cinema founder Tim League wrote in a tweet today.

When we contacted Paramount to ask about reports that Team America had been pulled, a representative said the studio has no comment.

The 2004 film by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone was re-released on July 4 this year to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. A move by Paramount to pull the movie would spoil the plans of some theater owners who have said they would screen Team America in an act of defiance, after Sony said they wouldn't screen The Interview.

"The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie," The Daily Beast reports.

The Interview, whose premise involves an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had been heading toward a Christmas Day release. But the spoof comedy was identified as a possible reason Sony was attacked by hackers.

As we reported yesterday, U.S. intelligence officials now believe North Korea played a key role in the attack.

While Paramount has been silent about reports that it benched Team America, visitors to the studio's Facebook page are not.

"Seriously you just caved to the North Koreans?" one man asked in the comments section of a recent Facebook post by Paramount.

Several others called the move cowardly, with one man accusing the studio of "Bowing down to some tinpot dictator!"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.