Sony Will NEVER Release ‘The Interview?’ [NEW UPDATE]
UPDATE #2: Sony Pictures has now confirmed (via Variety) that they have no plans to EVER release The Interview, in theaters, on DVD or via online streaming. Although there could be room for Sony’s plans to change, or for another studio to buy the film, perhaps off-setting Sony’s losses, there appear to be no such plans in place at this time. (But if any movie studio wants to stick up for this movie and take a stand against the Sony Hackers, we hope that they pursue that action.)
UPDATE #1: That was fast. Although Sony Pictures was originally planning to move forward with the Christmas release of The Interview, they have now released a statement (via The Wrap) which says that they have pulled the film from distribution. No new release date is currently planned.
“In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview,“ the statement says, “We have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.”
“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.”
Read the original news story below:
The message, allegedly from a group calling themselves “The Guardians of Peace” (better known to many as “The Sony Hackers”), invoked the events of September 11, 2001 in their ominous threat. “Remember the 11th of September 2001,” read part of the statement. “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)”
The top five movie theater chains in the country have responded to this threat by giving the Sony Hackers exactly what they asked for. According to Hollywood Reporter, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided not to show The Interview, which stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as a talk show host and producer who are enlisted by the U.S. government to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jon-un during an exclusive interview.
These five theater chains are joined by smaller chains including Bow Tie Cinemas and Classic Cinemas in deciding not to screen The Interview. In addition to the safety concerns based on the threat itself, distributors are also taking into consideration the possible decrease in ticket sales for all the films screening at their theaters of what is otherwise expected to be, as usual, a busy holiday weekend at the box office.
Sony will still deliver The Interview to any theater which chooses to screen it, but in the wake of this lack of support from major chains, Variety reports that the studio is now considering a premium video-on-demand release to help recuperate what could be some very costly losses. (The film cost a reported $42 million to produce, and Sony has already spent tens of millions of dollars on marketing.)
But this is, according to the report, just one plan out of several currently being considered by the studio, and there is no word on how what viewing The Interview on VOD would cost the consumer.
Reactions to the news that movie theater chains are giving in to Sony Hackers is being met with general scorn by pundits and supporters. And while we have to sympathize with the plight of theater chains making a tough decision about this situation, we agree with the critics. Giving criminals exactly what they want sets a dangerous precedent, one that could enable more threats of this nature in the future, any time that anyone with a beef against a film, filmmaker or studio decides to cross the line into violent rhetoric.