It’s official – Sony Pictures has cancelled the theatrical release of the controversial Seth Rogen comedy The Interview following the recent hack attack and terror threats.
Of course, there are plenty of media types who are outraged that this has happened – and rightly so. After all, we’re seeing censorship happen on a global scale. But that doesn’t mean that Sony Pictures haven’t done exactly the right thing.
It all kicked off after the recent Sony hack left the movie giants exposed. But after threats from the hacker group and links to North Korea, it looks as though the folks at Sony have been backed into a corner. And here’s why I think they had little choice but to pull the film.
Sony Pictures – International Incident?
We may all be disappointed that Sony has apparently bowed to terrorism, but what was the alternative? At the end of the day, Sony Pictures is a business. It is not the US government. And while we’ve seen thousands complaining on Twitter at how easily they bowed to the threat of terrorism, you have to remember – this is not a military siege.
Sony Pictures has to do what’s right for the company… and provoking an international incident over a Seth Rogen comedy is perhaps one of the worst business plans I’ve ever heard.
Similarly, the cinema chains aren’t to blame. When given the option of cancelling screenings, they rightly did so. They were backed into a corner and were forced to protect their interests. No cinema chain (American or not) is going to risk starting a conflict with a foreign power that has already proved that it’s willing to take offensive action.
They are cinema chains, not militarised global powers.
Assassinating A Current World Leader?
Attempting to put the Sony hack (and terror threat) to one side for a moment, would all the media types back Sony Pictures if this film depicted the realistic assassination of President Obama? Would that also be an acceptable film to put in theatres across the country, or would censorship be less of an issue to protect the values of the American people?
I’m trying to avoid getting political here, but I can’t help thinking that if the boot was on the other foot, the idea of censorship wouldn’t be such a banner to rally behind.
Of course, there’s already been huge comparisons to the film Team America’ Yes, that film didn’t cause such a fuss… but then, it was made entirely with puppets. The Interview is an entirely different kettle of fish, showing a realistic (and rather brutal) depiction of Kim Jong-Un being assassinated.
I’m not saying that North Korea has acted well – they’ve clearly gone on the offensive over a film that’s meant to be satirical. But given the subject matter, there was always the possibility of riling people up. And taking pot shots at a militarised dictatorship is rarely a good idea.
What Else Could Sony Do?
I can’t help thinking that Sony Pictures have been backed into a corner when it comes to cancelling the release of The Interview. What else were they supposed to do? While it’s unclear whether or not the film will ever see the light of day, we’ve already seen rumblings amongst film journalists that they’d like to see the film appear on video-on-demand.
But here’s why that’s a terrible idea:
This opens up Sony Pictures and any VOD that shows the film to retaliatory attacks. You may think that the damage is done, Sony’s biggest secrets have already been leaked so there’s nothing more the hackers can do.
Denial Of Service attacks could still cripple Sony’s infrastructure, and I’m guessing that no video-on-demand provider would be willing to risk putting themselves into that position. It’s potentially a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.
Where do they go from here? Now that’s the million-dollar question. I’d love Sony to come out of this with its head held high. It’s clearly a terrible situation and will be remembered as the day censorship won. But I can’t help feeling that any release of The Interview is going to make things ten times worse.
And perhaps Sony Pictures just has to cut its losses.
What do you think of the Sony Pictures situation? Should Sony walk away with their heads held high, or risk releasing the film through other means? Let us know what you think in the comments below…