Sony Scraps THE INTERVIEW Release

Editor, U.S.; Los Angeles, California (@benumstead)
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Sony Scraps THE INTERVIEW Release

4:50 PST UPDATE: Sony Has 'no further release plans for The Interview', including VOD or DVD/Blu.

It started with the infamous hack into Sony servers last month. Then vague threats towards attacks on theaters that would show it. And despite top U.S. Officials citing there was no concrete evidence of an impending attack, like flies dropping dead, every major North American theater chain said they would not screen it.

Now Sony Pictures has officially cancelled the release of Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg's The Interview, an admittedly goofy account of American TV personalities (played by Rogen and James Franco) who are tasked to kill the leader of North Korea. A new milestone in the history of cinema has been marked today, folks.

Here's Sony on the subject at hand:

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.

On top of that, sources far and wide in the entertainment world are saying the U.S. Justice Department are teetering on the precipice of making an announcement to the public, stating that it is indeed North Korea who is responsible for the cyber attacks and further terrorist threats.

I never would have dreamed that Freaks And Geeks' own Daniel Desario and Ken Miller would be involved in provoking one of the most extreme, absurd twists in our digital world. A movie that no doubt has a provocative premise, but is clearly a cartoon, one big joke, has provoked what is regarded by some (that'd be Pyongyang) as an... Act. Of. War.

What comes next for the film itself proves to be tricky, though I think there is one clear option and it ain't pretty for us moviegoers. While a VOD release makes sense for films that stir up certain kinds of controversy, I don't think this is likely the case with The Interview, simply because a cyber attack has already been proven near-devastating to one major multinational company, so I doubt cable and internet services would be willing to risk a further assault on their own turf.

So yes, while this is absurd today, a part of me thinks cyber attacks of this nature will become more common place as the world hums on into its LED lit twilight. Do you have thoughts on all this? Of course you do, leave a comment below.

In the meantime, our own Jason Gorber will be reviewing the film... right about now.     

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More about The Interview

Jason GorberDecember 17, 2014 7:38 PM

Variety now reporting that all releases - theatrical, VOD, and home video, are on indefinite hold.

Mr. CavinDecember 18, 2014 4:35 AM

"...while this is absurd today, a part of me thinks cyber attacks of this nature will become more commonplace..."

Of course they will. The method has just been proven completely effective. Pathological risk adversity is turning us all into puppets, and now US/Canadian media can be controlled by anywhere in the world. Yeah, it's a silly little movie, one which you kind of dismiss as a "cartoon"--and yet I note that cartoons have often been more inciting than other examples pop-representation simply because fascist, self-important, cult-of-personality-type despots rely on people taking their images seriously to remain in power. This cartoon movie itself dismissed the North Korean regime in much the same way, and that is a mortal offense to the cartoon in charge and to the population who has allowed him so much power. When North Korea is presented as a bunch of cool, well-dressed, Bond-style villains, they are annoyed but still less dangerously riled as when they are made fun of. It's a hallmark of all children: taunting usually starts a fight. But in the greater scheme of things, right now is when we have all collectively bowed our heads and admitted that North Korea is not a cartoon after all, because we have all just lost that fight. Shaking my head.

BosDecember 18, 2014 8:42 AM

We live in a disgusting planet

Todd BrownDecember 18, 2014 10:48 AM

I agree with pretty much all that you're saying here, though I don't believe the principal fear / reason for canceling it is North Korea itself but American litigiousness. The fear is that if they release the film and ANYTHING happens in any theater showing it, regardless of the origin or nature of the incident, the resulting lawsuits would be monstrous. Someone ran a cost / benefit analysis ...

... and on that basis, it worked. Just saw a headline that Sony stock rose in Japan as soon as they canned the release.

Todd BrownDecember 18, 2014 1:52 PM

Case in point: Sony is now being hit with THREE class action lawsuits by its own employees because they got hacked. Yup, the company's own employees suing the company that got hacked BECAUSE they got hacked. Sony's the victim now be re-victimized by its own employees, who are rushing to grab whatever they can. THIS is the core economic problem - what people are doing here - not anything the hackers have done when it comes to actually releasing or not releasing the film.


Mr. CavinDecember 18, 2014 2:08 PM

oh I pretty much agree--it's all pretty egregious. People will sue at the drop of a hat. Still in all, employees definitely have some claim to having trust in their employers'--especially a technology concern--ability to keep their information safe. Same as they have with banks and doctors. If my bank got hacked and I was left actually victimized, or even conceivably victimized, I would assume the right to my share in the bank's insurance payoff against such an event, too. Poor insurance companies. It's terrible. The same is probably true in the case above, though I agree that the color is a shade grayer. Sony is definitely a victim. And by that I mean Sony's employees are victims. But this reaction is about stemming the widening ripple of other companies concerned that they might be victimized in turn, and the horror is that the threat of victimization can be leveled at anybody at any time. Just how are we ever supposed to actually wag out tails when it's so much safer to keep them between our legs like this?

YojimboDecember 18, 2014 9:14 PM

Sony have also got the problem of maybe seeing many yet unreleased films in various states of production being leaked onto torrent sites.