When I first saw the trailer for “The Interview” I thought to myself, “this movie looks awful.” I still think it looks awful. It’s a satire picture about the assassination of Kim Jung Un with Seth Rogan, and regardless of whether you think it is bad taste to promote a movie about the (spoiler alert – successful) assassination of a nation’s leader, the first amendment freedom of speech lets us make such a movie. Would I have seen it? Unlikely. But I didn’t think much about it being made, just moved on with my life.
Since then, however, a lot of things transpired. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened as it stands now:
First, Sony Entertainment was hacked by an unknown group and had a number of their emails, social security numbers, passwords and such leaked to the public. This was a fun little news story for a while, with reporters focusing on the information that was leaked instead of the group behind the hack.
Shortly thereafter, there was some discussion that this hack was actually done by North Korea, in response to The Interview’s impending release. They were none too happy that their glorious leader will be killed in the upcoming American movie.
Flash forward a bit, and the hackers give Sony an ultimatum. Pull the movie, or we will create another 9/11. Here is the statement they sent to Sony:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
Whether or not North Korea is actually capable of following up with such a plan, Sony took the threat seriously. Very seriously. So seriously that they gave theaters slated to premiere the film the option to not carry The Interview after all.
The next day, five of the major theater chains decided they would not be screening the movie, citing fear of retaliation by these hackers. The next day, Sony made the decision to pull the movie entirely.
And that’s where we are today. Sony has made the decision that this movie will not be released now, and they have no currents plans for a DVD or video on demand release.
Even though the death scene has already been leaked.
The mere threat of a terrorist act has stirred enough fear to change the decision to release a movie that cost 50 million dollars to make. There are a lot of ramifications of this, most notably that Sony has inadvertently set the precedent that terrorism wins, and that freedom of speech is an illusion.
What do you think? Should Sony have pulled The Interview and succumb to terrorist threats? Or should they have refused to negotiate with people claiming to be terrorists? Or is it all just a big publicity stunt, and if so, how do you think Sony is going to cash in on it? They are, after all, a for-profit corporation.