The Interview Release Gets Canned as Sony Bows to the Threats

I cannot begin to describe exactly how frustrated I am by this turn of events.  The Sony hack has been an issue for a little while now and while we here at Cinelinx have refused to cover the news to come from the various leaks, it’s something we’ve been following very intently.  Yesterday threats from the hackers were made, that essentially boiled down to some form of terroristic attack on any movie theater that showed The Interview.  

Some evidence has pointed to the fact that The Interview, a movie in which some bumbling reporters are tasked with assassinating the North Korean dictator, as being the primary reason Sony has been targeted.  Early today major theater chains began announcing that they were pulling the film off their schedules.  For a little bit, Sony seemed to remain firm in their release of the film…but then they caved. 

Here’s Sony’s official PR statement revealing the cancellation and their reasoning for it: 

In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

Frankly speaking, I’m pissed.  I understand it’s a delicate situation and there’s no “perfect” way to deal with such a situation, but I don’t think giving in like this was the right course.  Terrorism works off of fear, and giving into that fear only encourages MORE terrorism rather than appease them.  Now Sony has essentially shown to the hackers that they can “win” and their tactics have worked.  This is setting a very dangerous precendent.  Imagine a Biblical film comes out that someone doesn’t agree with, or even a pro-abortion movie, and people start calling in terroristic threats to keep the films from releasing. 

While I would hope that other factors would be in place to prevent such things from happening on that scale, the truth is, since Sony gave in, it’s now a more viable option than ever before.  More so, it also sends the message that filmmakers aren’t actually free to create the films they want.  Especially now that Sony is saying they have NO current release plans for the movie (meaning no VOD or DVD in the near future), I can see many studios turning down potentially amazing film pitches because of fear.  Stifling creativity due to fear of hacks and terrorism is a sure-fire way to make sure the bad guys win.  

I can’t honestly say that The Interview was high on my must-see list, but frankly the issue isn’t about the film anymore.  It’s about NOT backing down to terroristic demands and showing that together we can be something better and stronger while allowing filmmakers the freedom to develop the stories they’re passionate about.  

Again, I know that Sony was put in a very difficult situation and I don’t envy the crap that they’ve had to deal with over the last few weeks.  There’s no easy way around the problem, but I do feel there were some other ways this should have been handled.  What do you guys think?  Let us know your thoughts on The Interview cancellation and the siutaion in general.