A rough timeline of the Sony fiasco is this:
Sony's corporate network is compromised. Much-gossiped-about embarrassing emails and other corporate dirty laundry leaks. Embarassing for the company, and for the top executives that are made to look juvinile and petty, sure.
Hacker's further threaten Sony with "911-style attacks" (which sounds like a load of bullshit to me) and the five major theater companies in the country back out of the theatrical release on Christmas Day.
Sony pulls the film's website, and cancels the release.
Many, many independent theatres publicly state they'd be happy to show the film.
Many express interest in seeing the film due to heightened publicity about the whole ordeal and say Sony should release the film on iTunes/Netflix/other online method.
Sony is now saying the film's release is now over, ignoring points #4 and #5, as if they don't exist.
Today when asked about the story, President Obama, during his last press conference of the year before Christmas, states that he thinks Sony made a big mistake by backing down. Should have released the film.
After the President weighed in, the CEO of Sony sprung into action. Largely avoiding making statements to the press all week other than short press releases, all afternoon the CEO of Sony has appeared on news and radio programs (CNN, CNBC, NPR, etc) attacking the President for his comments and blaming the theatres for the film cancellation.
It seems to me that nothing in the word is holding up Sony from releasing the film. They're relying on the cowardice of the movie theatres as a crutch to lean against to shift the blame off of their own cowardly executives who are afraid of holding on to their jobs so that the hacker's don't release more embarrassing emails. They are perfectly capable of showing the film in independent theatres or releasing it online - they just don't want to do so as they'd rather dump the film and keep their jobs.