It's official, Sony has announced they will not release the highly controversial film 'The Interview' amid massive and ongoing hacker attacks on their company and terrorist-like threats to potential viewers of the film. No national movie theater chains wanted to show the film in their building out of understandable fear of some kind of attack, and Sony soon had no choice but to decide to scrap the film release altogether.
Threats have been made by the hackers, a coordinated effort calling themselves 'Guardians of Peace':
Calling themselves “Guardians of Peace,” the hackers have obtained some 100 terabytes of data stolen from Sony servers. To put that into perspective, 10 terabytes can hold the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress.
This group has been releasing internal Sony emails and personal information of employees and actors attached to several Sony productions over the last few weeks now. I won't go into all the specifics. But, if interested, much can be found here
As so much as been written about this subject already, I thought it better to instead shift the focus onto the actual film 'The Interview', and why it is now very important that this film gets leaked. For over a decade now, basically ever since Napster and torrents burst onto the scene within the vehicle of the internet, movie production companies have been hit, and hit hard by people leaking and illegally torrenting films online. File sharing services have allowed illegal sharing and downloading of movies at a staggering rate, and the loss in revenue for the content producers of these films is hard to quantify. Saying that they have lost billions is fair. But likely, all told, the amount of file sharing that has gone down since people started (if people were to otherwise have paid for watching the film, or listening to the song) is gotta be pushing a trillion, wouldn't you think?
Whatever the number, consider this: Sony spent
$44 million producing 'The Interview'. Now they stand to make exactly zero dollars from the movie now. Not only have they publicly folded under threats from the hackers not to release the film in theaters, but they also sealed the deal that they will in fact not be releasing a digital copy online either. So that means that just lost $44 million on this project. Of course that's small potatoes compared to the damage that has already been done to their multi-billion dollar company. Their reputation has been put into serious question. And they will forever go down in cinema trivia and history as setting a lousy precedent of giving into idle threats over a controversial film. First amendment rights be damned. Freedom of speech was not enough shield for Sony in this case. And it is a sad day when a production company has to come to this regretful conclusion and decision.
So, what can be done now to salvage this fiasco? In my mind, its simple. This film needs to get leaked. Accidentally. On purpose. By some rogue hacker group equally as coordinated as the hackers that threaten Sony. Doesn't matter. People need to see this film. Not because it will likely be a great film. Probably won't be. This film is a slap stick comedy with a shock-an-awe premise, and doesn't pretend to be anything otherwise. Even still, suppression of media is the exact opposite of what this country stands for, and everyone involved in the production of this film deserves to have the public actually view it.
No money will be made on this. That is already clear. I don't see Sony going back on that statement. But to fully suppress this film, to be locked away in some chamber, never to see the light of day would be an admission that art and media can be successfully suppressed, so long as someone is upset enough, and is threatening enough. Of course there is more to Sony not releasing this film than just to appease North Korea. But in the end, this is North Korea bullying our media companies simply because fear is a powerful tool.
Now even though it is not yet completely confirmed
that the North Korean government was implicitly involved in the threats or the hacks, it is widely believed that the US government will be announcing Thursday that indeed that is the case. Either way, consider the double edged sword: Sony was hacked. And those hacks surfaced all across the world, thanks to the internet, leading to a pulling of the film in question. Now consider the other side of that coin, 'The Interview' was saved digitally, and therefore someone can and likely will hack that, and soon a leaked version will surface and circulate online, across the world. Perhaps the hacktivists at Anonymous
will be the ones, hence the cover photo of this blog.
Like it or not North Korea and the so-called 'Guardians of Peace', people will be seeing this movie. You may have wielded a damaging blow to the Sony corporation, you may have successfully set a gross precedent that calculated bullying can sometimes suppress media dissemination in certain ways, but you will ultimately FAIL at getting me and everyone else that knows how to torrent from seeing this film. You still lose, even if you feel like a winner now.
Here's the preview to Sony's 'The Interview':Update (12/23/14 6:45pm):
Well, the cries and petitions were loud enough. And they worked. Sony will be releasing the film in select theaters that are willing to screen it afterall. As well as a VOD option online. This is good news, and a win for free speech. I'm glad Sony figured this out. I just hope this wasn't one big ol' marketing campaign.
Here's the source, via Gizmodo: Sony Pictures Will Screen The Interview on Christmas Day