Hmmm. As stupid as this whole Sony hacking thing has been to try and avoid, now we’re at the stage where things get even weirder because it now has to be followed. Sony Pictures has decided to kill The Interview, pulling not only the film’s premiere this week, but the actual Christmas launch entirely. Of course, the company is being called out and called all sorts of names by other media companies. “Holy irony of ironies and if it were them, what would THEY do, Batman?” Answer: “Probably the same damn thing, old chum.” More on that in a second.
Anyway, things have gotten so wretched that even George R.R. Martin has chimed in with a LiveJournal post (wait, people STILL use LiveJournal?) chiding “Regal, AMC, and every other major theatre chain in the United States” along with Sony for caving hard over threats of potential violence and other protests had the film been screened anywhere in the U.S. of A. Good on you, George! Please don’t kill me off in a response, sir.
As for Sony, All I have to say is “Yikes!”...
And of course, in fear-crazed America (no thanks to news outlets that continually promote scare tactics as “news” while trumpeting “freedom” on a daily basis) some people are buying that excuse. Yes, most of that fear comes from the unfortunate linking of 9/11 to the antics of one crazed gun-toting murderous misfit (with no links to overseas terrorism at all) who made a name for himself in Colorado a few years back. Sorry, but neither incident has NO connection to this one and “better safe than sorry” is a lame excuse.
That and some careful application of common sense would show you that the only danger to The Interview as a film was it bombing so badly that it temporarily hurt the prospects of Sony’s even shakier profits. Even if Sony was playing it safe and protecting audiences by folding up its tent and rolling off into the sunset, not even allowing the film to go straight to On Demand at a slight premium that may have sold digital tickets to the curious makes them even more cowardly.
What, North Korean hackers will be able to find out who rents the film and will threaten EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM in their homes? I think not. Hell, it just looks now like Sony is trying to appease everyone from frightened movie theater owners to too-scared citizens who don’t see the relative impossibility of an announced threat being probable thanks to a few factors. Can you imagine what would have happened in 1969 when, during the height of the Cold War (well, if wars have heights), 20th Century Fox decided to pull the plug on The Chairman because the “Red” Chinese were upset, particularly at THIS rather inflammatory poster?
Here’s the trailer for this oddball John Frankenheimer film. It’s not a great movie at all, but it was the first thing I thought of when I first saw a TV spot for The Interview about a month or so ago. Hey, that’s what I get for being so damn old. I make connections like this in a tearing hurry:
Here’s a thought. I’d bet if it was Fox that was hacked, they’d be yanking films left and right as well because at the end of the day, they also fear for their lives (as well as talk even more smack than the already do on their news channels). Even Paramount is telling theaters that wanted to substitute Team America: World Police for Sony’s flick NOT to show that older film. Hmmmmm. I think if something would have happened surround THAT film, it would have happened already. Hell, South Park has been skewering everything and anything politically hot for ages and while some celebrity types have had their say and way against Matt and Trey, the boys do get away with a lot and make many of us laugh our collective ass off.
Call me crazy, but going the William Castle route, take advantage of a crappy situation and make a buck in the process with some crazy gimmicks. How about a limited screening in some theaters that have extra (and actual) security in place? Stick any protesters the maximum distance away (all, what? Nine of them?), tell people not to being any bags bigger than a purse and maybe provide them with free snacks to soothe the pain of the waiting to get past the mandatory metal detectors or pat-downs. Make The Interview THE event film it wasn’t going to be and maybe make a profit and not be afraid of anything like this because it’s the first step on the Road to Kowtow.
At this point, if SOny is trying to bend over backwards so as not to see the remaining results of that hack spill out onto the internet, they’re fools. The people that did this are going to dump what they can when they can, the media will leech on it and report it as if it’s earth-shaking when it’s not, and a lot of people will waste a lot more time apologizing and losing credibility and perhaps their jobs. All the while, those who aren’t hacked will still be the clueless, ignorant, possibly racist, sexist and other sorts of dopes you’d want to slam a door on once their dirty digital laundry is aired. The only thing these hacks are accomplishing is showing us that everyone is human and pretty messed up when they have the opportunity to be.
Up until this point I had no interest in seeing The Interview because I like my comedy less annoying. But if it does ever make it to some sort of legal screen time, perhaps I’ll check it out just to see what all the fuss is about. Well, provided I get some free snacks out of it. You’re not getting me into a theater anytime soon because movie theaters can be scarier than almost any threat. Sticky floors, bedbugs and busted seating? Yeah, I’d rather watch a film at home than in a movie house of horrors…