After weeks of leaked emails, controversy and international Internet intrigue, moviegoers couldn’t stay away from the first public showings of the Seth Rogen and James Franco satirical comedy "The Interview."
Staff worked overtime at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles’ Fairfax district ahead of its sold-out planned 12:35 a.m. Christmas showing.
"Now it’s almost American to go and see it," moviegoer Jim Krueger said outside of the theater. "It’s like another revolution - that kind of silliness."
Top news of the day
All 184 seats at the theater were sold at the theater, one of 300 or so theaters across the country that agreed to carry “The Interview” after Sony pulled it from distribution only to change its mind at the last minute.
The movie was shelved after Sony was hacked by North Korea, and threats were made of terrorist acts if the movie was shown.
The plot centers on a pair of hapless journalists charged with killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The decision to shelve the movie was poorly received by many in Hollywood, who saw the company as caving. President Barack Obama even waded into the fray and said he wished Sony had decided to release the film.
In a move that made history - and also ticked off a lot of big theaters - Sony also released steaming versions of the movie on YouTube and other platforms a day before the theatrical release.
But still many fans who usually stream their movies are actually coming out to the theater to watch “The Interview,” saying that with all the drama, international controversy, Hollywood dust-ups and vague threats of terrorism, the movie now feels way too big for the small screen.
"I came for political reasons, really. But I was pleasantly surprised that I loved the movie," said moviegoer Erica Montgomery.
"I just think it's a small act of patriotism to be here to see the movie and let countries know they can't push us around," said another moviegoer, Shalom Lewis.
NBC4's Angie Crouch contributed to this report.