The nightmare for Sony Pictures continues as all of their worst-case scenarios are coming to reality. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the top five theater chains in the United States have removed all future screenings of The Interview from their theaters.
This comes on the heels of threats from the cyber-terrorism group the Guardians of Peace, rumored to be in connection with North Korea or possibly former Sony employees according to a report by TMZ. In which they promised "9/11" styled mayhem in theaters showing The Interview. Seth Rogen and James Franco star in the film about two TV personalities on a secret mission to assassinate the North Korean leader for the U.S. government. Sony contacted their major exhibitors and left the decision up to them if they wanted to screen the movie. Well today they took Sony up on their offer. Here was the response via THR:
Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.
"Due to the wavering support of the film The Interview by Sony Pictures, as well as the ambiguous nature of any real or perceived security threats, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to delay the opening of the film in our theatres," Regal said in a statement to THR Wednesday.
Carmike Cinemas confirmed its decision to drop the film on Tuesday. The other chains did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sony also had no immediate comment.
This is bad news for Sony Pictures on many levels. The Interview was made on a rumored budget in the $40 million dollar range. However as a result of the hacking, it will cost the company in the ballpark of $100 million dollars to rebuild their security and infrastructure. Rogen's films are made on a modest (by blockbuster standards) budget and often double or triple their earnings. They desperately needed this film's income to pay to the bills. This also comes after the news yesterday that numerous Sony employees have organized a class action suit, for exposing personal information and being negligent in the handling of The Interview. Sony Pictures is looking at huge debts, which will only weaken the studio further financially.
The wording by the Regal Entertainment Group clearly is litigious and puts the blame for them dropping the film, squarely on Sony's shoulders. At least in public, Sony has remained behind the film. If their support was "wavering" to a high degree, they would have pulled it on their own. This has affected the entire industry because the threats will ultimately keep moviegoers away from cineplexes in general, not just from The Interview. Which certainly will not be earning Sony any new friends this holiday season.
These next couple of weeks and the months that follow will be crucial for the long-term sustainability of Sony Pictures as a whole. How they deal with The Interview's "release," how they reorganize their finances and executive structure, how they restructure their security systems, and how successful they will be in repairing their damaged relationships with their talent, will determine if they even stay afloat from all of this. Keep in mind, smaller crisis have toppled studios in the past. Fortunately there hasn't been a huge public backlash against the studio yet, so they will have to also make moves that seem out of goodwill to their fans as well. (Yes, now is a good time to give Marvel Studios a call about Spider-Man.) This is a historically complicated situation and we will keep bringing you the latest.
What do you think will be a result of all of this? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks