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'The Interview' earns rave reviews -- without anyone seeing it

Even though Sony Pictures canceled the theatrical release of the film, it earns nearly perfect ratings from users on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Interview" has been called off, but that hasn't stopped would-be viewers from reviewing it. Sony Pictures

The movie at the center of the ongoing controversy surrounding Sony Pictures, the US government and North Korea is getting rave reviews online as part of a protest against the studio's decision to nix its release.

As of this writing, over 25,000 people have gone to popular film industry database site IMDb to give "The Interview," starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, an average 9.9 stars out of 10. On movie-focused site Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has earned a rating of 4.2 out of five from nearly 29,000 people.

"The Interview" receiving such positive reviews comes as a surprise, considering the film will not make its theatrical debut on Christmas Day as anticipated. Only a handful of reviewers have already seen the film. The positive users reviews appear to be part of a quasi-protest of Sony's decision to cancel the theatrical release of the film -- though the studio has said it is exploring alternative options for releasing the movie.

Earlier this month, an anonymous group of hackers calling themselves the "Guardians of Peace" took credit for breaching the Hollywood studio's network. Their initial attack became public on November 24, and the group has since released a trove of stolen financial documents, unreleased movies, emails, and confidential information about employees and celebrities.

The hackers claimed to have been motivated "The Interview," a comedy which depicts Rogen and Franco as journalists tasked with attempting to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. After the hackers threatened to attack theaters screening the film, Sony last week canceled its release.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and US President Barack Obama said that North Korea was behind the hacks and promised a response. It's not clear what that response will be. North Korea has said it was not involved in the attack and if it faces retribution, it will respond accordingly.

After Sony announced that it wouldn't launch "The Interview," Hollywood exploded with celebrities taking to Twitter and other social media sites to express their displeasure with the decision. Many fans of Rogen also tweeted support for the film and called on Sony not to back down.

As the recent user reviews show, would-be viewers aren't giving up. The controversial film is a hit on some of the more popular movie sites on the Web, despite those folks never actually seeing the film. There appears to be some hope that if enough support is shown for the film, Sony could reverse course.

Sony did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Via The Verge)