UPDATED DECEMBER 24: Approximately 300 independent theatres across the US will screen the controversial comedy on December 25 after Sony Pictures initially pulled the release in response to last week’s refusal by the five major exhibitors to screen it.

Sites include those from the Alamo Drafthouse, Laemmle Theatres and Regency Theaters chains.

President Obama praised the decision to support a limited release. Last week he weighed in on the saga, saying Sony Pictures had made a mistake in pulling the scheduled wide release.

Screendaily understands the film’s international roll-out remains on hold.

“We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organisation they have been under attack,” said Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League.

“Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination.

“At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theatres across the country.

“This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression. 

“Two days til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American.”

This week Arthouse Convergence, the organisation that supports independent exhibitors and the promotion of film culture in local communities, launched a petition in favour of a release.

An excerpt from the petition read:

“We are at an important crossroads with an opportunity to reaffirm clearly our dedication to the value of freedom and the absolute necessity to keep our film industry free of restriction, censorship and violent intimidation.

“We implore our fellow exhibitors and our nation of moviegoers to stand up in recognition that freedom of speech and artistic expression are vital not only to the entertainment industry but for all art and commerce worldwide.”

Last week Sony Pictures pulled The Interview after the five major cinema chains refused to carry it in light of threats to filmgoers issued by the group calling itself Guardians Of Peace that had waged a devastating cyber attack on the studio. The FBI has subsequently attributed the attacks to North Korea.