Sony has announced it is canceling the release of “The Interview”. The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as television personalities tasked with assassinating North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, has been the center of controversy since threats were made from the North Korean leader. Confidential information was leaked from Sony after a number of hacks from the anonymous hacking group, Guardians of Peace. The group warned the entertainment company of possible terroristic acts in theaters showing the film.
“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.”
These threats have known been connected to North Korea through a federal investigation. No further information was available after this is an active criminal investigation.
Sony responded on Tuesday by allowing theaters to choose to pull showings of ‘The Interview.’ The top American theater chains, Regal Cinemas, AMC Entertainment, and Cinemark theaters chose to drop the controversial film. Despite the cancellations, it seemed as if Sony Entertainment would stand by the film. But on Wednesday, the company released a statement and announced it was canceling the release.
In the statement, Sony said the release cancellation resulted from the majority of theaters opting not to show the film. With a film budget of a meager $30 million, ‘The Interview’ was estimated to bring in about more than $40 million. Even with so much money at stake, Sony agrees the cancellation is what is best for the safety of theaters and their patrons.
“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.”
[Photo credit: chicagotribune.com]Hollywood reacted to the news. Several celebrities tweeted out their feelings on the situation, including Rob Lowe, Newt Gingrich, and Judd Apatow.
Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow.
— Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) December 17, 2014
No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 17, 2014
This only guarantees that this movie will be seen by more people on Earth than it would have before. Legally or illegally all will see it.
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) December 17, 2014
‘The Interview’ was set to premiere in theaters on Christmas day, one of the most important days at the box office. Some have speculated that Sony was pressured by other film companies to not hinder ticket sales on such an important time. Other films set to premiere are Universal’s ‘Unbroken’, Paramount’s ‘The Gambler’, and Disney’s ‘Into the Woods.’ Even Sony has another film set to debut, the musical ‘Annie’.
The company also said the future for the movie was unclear and had no further release plans. This news dashed the hopes of many fans that had hoped for a DVD or VOD release.
Despite the threats and ongoing investigation, the Department of Homeland Security stands by their previous statements.
“We are still analyzing the credibility of these statements, but at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.”