In a move that has caused uproar, Sony Pictures Entertainment has decided that the Seth Rogen and James Franco starring “The Interview” will not be released in any form; at least for the time being. The announcement came Monday following terrorist threats made to cinema-goers who wished to see the film in theaters. With the threat seeming genuine, it is not surprising that the production firm want to pull the film in a move that will cost them tens of millions of dollars.
The incident with “The Interview” is clearly having a very negative effect on films planned for the future, with Steve Carell being a surprising victim. His film “Pyongyang” has been canceled during pre-production as it was set in North Korea, the thriller was to be directed by Gore Verbinksi. United States intelligence officials have claimed that the North Korean government were centrally involved in the hacking yet a political response from the White House is still to come. President Barack Obama has however, encouraged American citizens to continue going to the cinema even if The Interview has been pulled.
Having already pulled the film from its theatrical release, the film is no longer expected to see release in the varying other available formats such as DVD, Blu-Ray or Internet On-Demand services. Celebrities took to Twitter to condemn the decision to pull the film with criticisms of censorship and the retraction of free artistic expression being among their concerns. The question as to how this move by Sony will be viewed politically is prominent, with Damon Wayans Jr. stating on his Twitter account “We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just do exactly what they say.” The message being sent to the rest of the world is surely not a positive one, and with hacking becoming a far more common concern for the world this form of response appears to have caused as much controversy as the hacking and threats themselves. Spartacus show-runner Steven S. DeKnight wrote “A sad day for artistic freedom. And freedom in general. RT @lru217: And Sony should have had the courage to go ahead with the premiere”.
Regardless of the negative response to Sony’s decision, the film- at least for the time being- will remain unseen by the general public. In a fantastic response to its theatrical pull, Alamo Drafthouse have decided to screen “Team America: World Police” instead of The Interview in their Dallas theater. The hilarious feature from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone features Kim Jong-Il (father of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un) as the antagonist, its screening is a brilliant act of defiance from the theater.