By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Movie theater owners said Wednesday that individual theaters may delay viewing Sony Pictures' North Korea parody "The Interview," after a hacking group that waged a massive cyber attack on the movie studio made threats on cinemas showing the film.
"We look forward to the time when the responsible criminals are apprehended. Until that happens, individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie," the National Association of Theatre Owners said in a statement.
The organization, which represents movie theaters across the United States, added it was working closely with security and law enforcement agencies.
The hackers, who claimed responsibility for seizing control and leaking data from Sony Corp's computers last month, on Tuesday warned people to stay away from cinemas showing the film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.
They darkly reminded moviegoers of the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on the United States in 2001.
Thursday's New York premiere of "The Interview," which follows two hapless journalists who are recruited to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was canceled following the latest threat. Rogen and Franco have also canceled several scheduled media appearances this week.
Carmike Cinemas, which operate 278 movie theaters in 41 states, told Sony late on Tuesday it would not show the film.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)