The neighborhood theater is one of 300 independent theaters across the U.S. to screen the film.
“Our phone has been ringing off the hook, so there is definitely a lot of interest in seeing it,” said Lisa Franek, artistic director of the Digital Gym.
Franek added that tickets sold out online as soon as the theater announced it would screen the film.
Thursday morning, moviegoers lined up an hour before the noon screening to snag the best seat.
“Normally today is a family day, but it wouldn’t hurt to get away for one of the most hyped movies,” said Chula Vista resident Ceci Cazares.
“For me that’s really all it is -- the hype. I’m not really a fan of Seth Rogan,” said TJ O’Donnel from North Park.
“I just wanted to see a funny movie which is not very Christmassy,” said Satoshi Honda, also from the neighborhood.
The movie almost never made it for its Christmas Day release after reports of threats surfaced from the North Korean government. Sony Pictures Tuesday announced it would allow for limited theatrical release and online streaming via YouTube, Google Play and Microsoft’s Xbox video store.
“The people also really benefiting are nonprofits like ours because normally we would never have the chance to show it,” said Kranek. “We are not worried about the threats. We did our research and according to officials there is no actual threat physically – they are more concerned with cybersecurity.”
Showing after showing, moviegoers packed the theater.
After 90 minutes the first verdict was out.
"It was a lot better than I thought. It was a really good,” said one theater patron.
“I think if people just see the film they won't be so offended by it,” said another moviegoer.