In a move that surprises no one that read our post from earlier today, Sony has pulled the controversial film, The Interview, from theaters. The film was set to open on Christmas Day.
“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,” Sony said in its official statement regarding the cancellation. “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
The press release continued, “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.”
Sony has gone on record that it has no plans to release the film on Video-on-Demand, home video or theatrically in the future.
In the film, James Franco played a celebrity journalist who travels to North Korea under the pretense of doing an interview with Kim Jong-Un and instead kills him on the behest of the C.I.A. Seth Rogen plays his friend and producer.
We have come a long way in the ten years since Team America: World Police, which lampooned Kim Jong-Il mercilessly, was released into the wild with little or no recourse from North Korea other than a request to the Czech Republic asking them to ban that film. Of course, over that decade, we have had a regime change (Kim Jong-Il was a supposedly a film buff, his son and successor, more a basketball fan. Some think the former’s love of movies made him go easy on Parker and Stone) and seen North Korea devote millions into building up its cyberterrorism resources. U.S. Officials state they have found links between the Sony hacks and the North Korean government. Whether the North Koreans have the skill or resources to pull off the 9/11-like carnage the hackers promised yesterday is still a mystery, but it seems that nobody was willing to take any chances.
It should also be noted that the State Department viewed an advance screening of the film and gave Sony the go ahead to release it, for what it’s worth.
It remains to be seen if this marks the last of the story, but I fear that it is far from over.