High-brow art house theaters and low-key college town cinemas became the unlikely stars of a Hollywood comeback by convincing the powerful Sony Pictures studio on Tuesday to let them screen ‘The Interview,’ the film shunned by the multiplexes and corporate chains.

Film buyer Jan Klingelhofer found herself in down-to-the-wire dealings with a studio known for its careful planning. ‘I think everybody has been doing a certain amount of this on the fly,’ said Klingelhofer, who runs Pacific Film Resources in Oakland, California. ‘This is completely atypical of Sony’s usual deliberate and precise manner of doing business,’ she added. ‘They’ve really had to step up.’

Independent cinemas normally would not be considered the landing spot for a lowbrow satire starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, leadings stars for stoner, gross-out comedy. ‘The Interview,’ co-directed by Rogen, depicts a fictional plot to assassinate North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and has incensed the reclusive nation now blamed for a devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The Hollywood studio said last week that it pulled ‘The Interview’ after the biggest North American theater chains backed out citing security concerns. Sony Corp’s reversal came after it faced criticism from the public and President Barack Obama that the Hollywood studio had capitulated to hackers and self-censorship. Russell Collins said he launched an online campaign among the industry’s independent theaters to screen ‘The Interview’ to support free speech.