Controversial Kim Jong-un Film “The Interview” Yanked from Its Christmas Day Release, Hackers’ Threats Prevail
Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on December 17, 2014
Frankly, the upcoming movie “The Interview” sounded inappropriate, in bad taste to me, so I’ve no tears to shed over its being abruptly shelved today by Sony Pictures.
However, had the film’s subject instead been George W. Bush being assassinated and not North Korean leader/man-child despot Kim Jong-un, and had complaints and threats been lodged against the Bush film, would Hollywood have pulled the plug on its release like this?
We’ll never know.
Oh, wait, yes, we do: the film “Death of a President,” depicting the assassination of Bush, was released in 2006, while he was still president. The British film received “measured praise” from the Washington Post and won awards at the Brussels European Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.
Guaranteed, no “Death of a President” film would ever be made with Barack H. Obama or William J. Clinton as its subject.
If a film depicting the assassination of a Republican president offends a majority of Americans, hey, too freakin’ bad, go read the First Amendment, Bub.
If, on the other hand, a film offends a ruthless communist dictatorship on the other side of the world and/or computer hackers who have sympathies for said communist dictatorship… well then, Americans’ freedom of speech is just a bunch of empty, lofty words.
The elephant in the room: who in the world green-lighted this sophomoric, multi-million-dollar film project in the first place?
Sony goes PPView w/ The Fugitive & makes a bundle, while Americans have an opportunity to tell Kim to Fluke himself? http://t.co/CAUoiw0lrI
— mick yellow (@my66) December 17, 2014
Reported by New York Times, Sony Pictures Cancels Holiday Release of ‘The Interview’ After Threats:
Sony Pictures Entertainment has dropped its plans for a Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a crude comedy that prompted a threat of terror against theaters.
The cancellation Wednesday afternoon came as the largest United States and Canadian film exhibitors said they would not show the movie.
In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
On Wednesday afternoon, AMC Theaters, citing “the overall confusion and uncertainty” around the film, joined Carmike Cinemas, Cinemark and Regal Entertainment in dropping the film. Together, those exhibitors control more than 19,200 screens across the United States. Smaller American chains and Canada’s Cineplex Entertainment also canceled the film.
Spokesmen for AMC, Cinemark and Carmike either declined to comment or could not immediately be reached. John Fithian, chief executive of the National Association of Theater Owners, did not respond to queries. Sony had no immediate comment.
Regal said in a statement: “Due to the wavering support of the film ‘The Interview’ by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film.”
Several smaller chains, including Bow Tie Cinemas, with 350 screens, also decided on Wednesday not to show “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, and was co-directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. To depict the killing of a sitting world leader, comically or otherwise, is virtually without precedent in major studio movies, film historians say.
On Tuesday a threat of terrorism against theaters that show “The Interview” was made in rambling emails sent to various news outlets. The threat read in part, “Remember the 11th of September 2001.” The emails aimed the threat at “the very times and places” at which “The Interview” was to play in its early showings.
Once the hackers threatened physical violence, the film’s cancellation became almost inevitable, even though Sony had spent a day maintaining its plans for the release and premiere. Since the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting in 2012, Cinemark had fought lawsuits with a defense that said the incident was not foreseeable — a stance that would have been virtually impossible with “The Interview.”
The film’s collapse stirred considerable animosity among Hollywood companies and players. Theater owners were angry that they had been boxed into leading the pullback. Executives at competing studios privately complained that Sony should have acted sooner or avoided making the film altogether.
— Michael Q Sullivan (@MQSullivan) December 17, 2014
— Andrew Saint (@saintismyname) December 18, 2014
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) December 17, 2014
From Gawker, Hackers Win: The Interview Is Canceled Across America:
Yesterday morning, anonymous hackers posted an extremely vague threat of violence against cinemas that choose to run The Interview, a Sony Pictures film that might be the cause of their recent hacker troubles. Today, reports indicate the $44 million movie is pretty much called off.
It’s hard to reconcile the actual execution of cyber-violence with a nebulous threat of physical violence. If the prevailing theory of North Korean revenge is correct, then taking this threat seriously means taking seriously the notion that the North Korean hackers would come to the United States and attack American movie theaters. Or that the North Korean government would, what? Start carpet bombing malls? The message read more like the escalating rhetoric of a group that’s getting global attention and wants to keep up that clip—scare tactics, not military tactics.
But now it doesn’t matter. The Guardians of Peace—whoever they are! We still don’t know who they are!—just axed a $44 million motion picture with an anonymous post on Pastebin. They are, beyond any doubt, extremely good at what they do: fucking things up for Sony. The only silver lining for the thoroughly trounced Sony Pictures is that the movie was going to be a turd anyway.
Wow! This is very sad when a foreign dictator like North Korea's Kim Jong-un can hit us at home, and prevent us… http://t.co/NncasVVQeH
— Fabrice Tasendo (@FabriceInLA) December 17, 2014
Does this mean that M*A*S*H re-runs are canceled? #TheInterview
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) December 17, 2014
Sony, a bunch of wimps. It's a stupid movie but we don't live our lives in fear or what might happen. If we do terrorists win. #TheInterview
— Chris Schieman (@ChrisSchieman) December 17, 2014
Latest NYT update:
American intelligence officials have concluded that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the recent attacks on Sony Pictures’s computers, a determination reached just as Sony on Wednesday canceled its release of the comedy, which is based on a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.
Senior administration officials, who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings, said the White House was still debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea of what amounts to a cyberterrorism campaign. Sony’s decision to cancel release of “The Interview” amounted to a capitulation to the threats sent out by hackers this week that they would launch attacks, perhaps on theaters themselves, if the movie was released.
Officials said it was not clear how the White House would decide to respond to North Korea.
More Twitterverse observations and reactions:
So 'The Interview' about an assassination attempt on Kim Jung Un is offensive, but 'Death of a President' was OK?
— Jacki Barron (@PatriotJackiB) December 17, 2014
A stupid movie I guess. I respect freedom of speech,but not advertise killing a leader. Even if that leader is evil http://t.co/mkIJcC0deZ
— karthy's (@bondblackberry) December 17, 2014
Charlie Chaplain released "The Great Dictator" in 1940 making fun of Adolf Hitler. Movie houses weren't afraid to show it. #TheInterview
— Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) December 17, 2014
— Godless Utopia (@GodlessUtopia) December 17, 2014
This is a line in the sand; the 1st time a corporation has decided it's in their own best interests to let the communists win. #TheInterview
— Dave Holloway (@DaveMedlo) December 17, 2014
— Susan Regan (@hromgirl) December 17, 2014
— Mike Boland (@MikeBolandStL) December 17, 2014
BREAKING: Hip Hop movies from the 90's are pulled from shelves due to offensive haircuts that resemble Kim Jon-Un's hair. #TheInterview
— tony altamirano (@tony_altamirano) December 17, 2014
— Cameron Gray (@Cameron_Gray) December 17, 2014