Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Except it isn’t. It happened. Facing pressure from theaters fearing terrorist retaliation from North Korea, Sony
Pussies Pictures has canceled The Interview’s scheduled Christmas launch, with no plans to release the film in any form at any time. Which is possibly the dumbest idea in history, for several reasons. This is bad for everyone. Sony, the theaters, consumers, and artists. The only winner? North Korea. They got what they wanted. What’s more? Kim Jong Un will now be a hero, emboldening support of that nutjob. His people will now legitimately believe he can sway the rest of the world, including the US, to his will.
How are we scared of this guy anyway?
Last I checked, North Korea was a laughing stock. All they’ve ever managed to pull off are a bunch of failed nuclear tests. The Kim Jong’s have always made threats, against just about everyone, and never made good on them. We’ve never given into terrorists before, and just about any country on earth is a more formidable enemy than North Korea. So why are we actually taking them seriously? Let’s say some wacko managed to shoot up ONE theater. That’s happened before. And they still showed that film after that. Why is this any different? Aside from the fact that listening to threats made by North Korea is like taking some bratty two-year-old’s tantrum seriously, let’s go through why everyone loses here.
Well… this is a given. Sony spent upwards of $40 million producing this film. Don’t show it? You lose $40 million. Right there. On top of probably close to a billion this whole hack cost you. And more or less everyone wanted to see this movie now, after all the drama seeing it. You’ve been given the best marketing campaign possible, for free, by the very subjects of your movie, and you’re going to throw that away? Wanna stick it to the people who totally screwed you over? Giving into their demands, when you already have nothing more to lose, is not how to do that.
The theaters lose.
Why did theaters pull the movie? They were worried the terrorists would make good on their threats. Meaning there would be costly lawsuits. Meaning the theater chains would ultimately take a huge financial hit from showing this movie. Right?
There’s legal precedent for this, once again coming from the Aurora shootings (and even before that). Lawsuits were filed against the theater then too. They were thrown out, because according to all laws on the books, the theater can’t be held liable for the shootings. If these script kiddies (aka internet tough guys) actually did have the balls, and the ability, to make good on their threats, it wouldn’t have cost the theaters a dime. Showing this movie would’ve practically been a risk-free license to print money.
Well… this one’s obvious. A lot of people want to see this movie. A lot of people are bummed out that they now can’t. C’mon… we just want you to shut up and take our money! But you won’t let us. Ah well, theaters and Sony. We’ll just wait until this leaks to the internet and watch it for free then. Have fun with your $40+ million loss. We wanted to give you our money, but you wouldn’t let us. Hell, we’ll probably see the movie even sooner now. I’m willing to bet Anonymous or a disgruntled employee will leak the movie before the planned date anyway. As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for the terrible precedent this whole thing sets, consumers might actually win in the long haul.
Speaking of which, worst of all is the terrible precedent this brings about. If someone wants to produce art about a controversial subject, apparently it just takes a little anonymous fearmongering to get it pulled. Are we, as a nation that prides ourselves on freedom of expression, going to take this? Are we, a world superpower, going to pull down our pants and bend over as Kim Jong Un, laughing stock of the world stage, stands behind us? Apparently we’ve determined that’s what to do. Well… the terrorists win. We, Americans, have surrendered to North Korea. Better grab that lube Sony… ’cause Kim Jong Un’s screwing you really hard. Instead of paying $8 for a ticket to see him get killed, we’re now paying nothing at all to watch him bend you over and have his way with you. And it ain’t a pretty sight.
A Call to Action
What needs to happen here? Sony needs to change course again. As do the theaters. If the financial repercussions of not showing the film outweigh those of showing the film (which shouldn’t be hard – I’ve already explained that Sony Pictures and the theaters can’t be held liable if something does happen, so those repercussions amount to zero), they’ll be forced to show it. Hell, the shareholders can sue if they don’t. By just scrapping a $40+ million film, Sony Pussies are seriously not acting in their shareholders’ best interests. And I mean, if you really want to, just make everyone sign a liability waiver as a prerequisite to buying a ticket. I happily would. Even if they did make good on their threats and I got killed, the terrorists lose, even if they kill you. They only win if you live in fear of them – which I shall never.
Barring that, Anonymous (hey, seriously, they’d be an easy target…) or a disgruntled Sony employee (read: all of you; Sony’s security has always been bad, and even after this has happened to them before, they still haven’t learned their lessons) should leak the film. And I’ll proudly admit it – I’m gonna pirate it when that happens. Sue me, Sony, I dare you. Since you never launched it, you can’t claim a lost sale. I wanted to give you my money, but you wouldn’t let me.
Consumers, celebrites, etc… Keep fighting the good fight. Many voices, including several celebrities, have put the heat on Sony Pussies. That’s good. If the fallout from not showing the movie is worse than the fallout from showing it, they’ll be forced to change course. Sony are starting to look pathetic for bowing to these threats, and that’s being put in the spotlight. Journalists, keep bringing light to this cowardice. Consumers, don’t buy a Sony product ever again (or go to any of the movie theaters that planned to cancel the showings – these include Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike, I believe). Sony, consequences have been threatened if you show the movie, by people who may or may not make good on those threats. There will be far worse consequences if you don’t. And that’s a chance I don’t recommend you take.