Celebs and fans alike angered by Sony pullout of "The Interview"

LOS ANGELES -- Critics of Sony's decision to pull "The Interview" say that it sets a dangerous precedent and that giving in to threats will have a chilling effect on Hollywood.

By cancelling showings of "The Interview," theater chains and Sony have angered and disappointed both moviegoers and filmmakers.

Evidence in Sony hack continues to point to North Korea

On Hollywood Boulevard Thursday, movie fans condemned the decision.

"We should be able to view whatever we choose to view," said Melody Welton.

Scott Fritsch, another cinema maven, agreed. "I would love to watch that movie just to get under Kim Jong-Un's skin."

Twitter feeds from Hollywood stars erupted. Rob Lowe declared: "The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them."

Steve Carell called it "a sad day." Reports said Carell was to star in a thriller set in North Korea that has just been cancelled.

Jimmy Kimmel tweeted it's "an un-American act of cowardice" and said more on his late-night show.

"Allowing a ruthless dictator of another country to decide what American people can and cannot see in our own country is against like everything we are supposed to stand for, right?" Kimmel said, to cheers and applause.

In a statement, Sony said, "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression" but shared movie theaters' "paramount interest in the safety of employees and theatergoers."

One of the early screenings of "The Interview" was in San Francisco, sponsored by the San Francisco Film Society. Noah Cowan is the Society's Executive Director. He fears the pullout could be a threat to free expression on film.

"What it means is that our Oscar films, the films that kind of come out around this time of year, may become a lot more milquetoast, and a lot more non-specific," Cowan said.

Just as the Internet was used against this film, it could be used to have it seen by millions around the world, streamed online. But so far, Sony has announced no plans to release "The Interview" for viewing on demand.

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.