Although Sony finally did what a majority of Americans felt was the right thing by releasing "The Interview" in theaters, even that doesn't diminish the fact that everything from the cyber-hacking attack on them to their responses to the leaked to their bizarre "We're releasing the film-no we're not-wait, now we are are, kind of" dance has many - from exhibitors to employees to stars to higher-ups fuming, amazed at Sony's handling of this and wondering if the film studio can survive.
First, no matter what they say, almost all the exhibitors, large and small, are pretty ticked at Sony. The major chains are saying that Sony essentially asked them to reject the film, then pulled the film and blamed the theater owners for not playing it. Then, made a deal with the indies to put the film back in theaters, leaving the majors looking like they are less courageous than the indies.
Meanwhile, the indies are unhappy that after they saved the day, Sony is refusing to help pay for additional security and is trying to get a more advantageous than usual split on box office for the film.
And on top of that, none of the theater owners are happy about a Day and Date VOD release of the film, which is something they have railed against for years.
Once again, Sony manages to find a way to look like idiots while making the right move.
The Day and Date VOD release of the film could lead to Sony doing that more for lower budgeted films, which could cause many theaters - and especially the big chains to refuse to show their films at all in the future.
Why will theaters agree to run Sony movies in the future if they are Day and date VOD releases and thus, far less likely to draw audiences out to see them? This seems to have been a goal of Pascal's for years, because Sony's split on VOD is 70-30 versus about 50-50 for a typical theatrical release.
While that may make sense in the short term, in the long term it will seriously hurt movie theaters. It also, if other studios don't follow suit, make Sony the equivalent of a Direct-To-DVD producer of films.
This may still be lucrative to Sony because they don't have that many big-budget or franchise films on the slate as it is - and those all have problems
Amy Pascal and the Sony Braintrust really need to have a successful "Spider-summit in January. They need to come up with a concrete plan for their supposed "Spider-verse" that excites people. Sharing the character with Marvel Studios would mean they lose creative control of their #1 franchise, while keeping him without a director or a new vision that really recharges the franchise most likely will mean more box-office disappointments and diminishing returns.
Amy Pascal does not seem to have her finger on the pulse of what audiences want. It was Pascal's decision to do a reboot of "Spider-Man" that no one was clamoring for. She is the one who, despite the fact that a generation of moviegoers now consider Daniel Craig to be THE James Bond - as testified by the fact that "Skyfall" was the first billion-dollar-Bond, seems to think general audiences are clamoring for Idris Elba for some reason. Changing the race of a character like Bond would have been hard enough if they replaces, say, Timothy Dalton with Denzel Washington. But to be seen as pushing out a Bond whose films have taken the franchise to new heights with someone who, let's face it, has never been a Hollywood leading man, is beyond insane. There would almost certainly be a drop in box-office just for those who stayed away because they were Craig fans.
Amy Pascal does not seem to truly value her relationships with people who have helped her studio make billions. Fair or not, that is the perception. She MUST give Andrew Garfiled one more turn as Spider-Man, at least. She needs to convince Will Smith to do "Men In Black 4". She must smooth out any ruffled feathers Denzel Washington might have over some comments made about him not being internationally bankable by giving him some big projects. She needs to give Kevin Hart some hilarious stuff - and she MUST sign Craih to do at least one more Bond film after "Spectre".
Amy Pascal must stop meeting with Al Sharpton. The man is an incredibly polarizing figure. A lot of moviegoers - and even some talent - may balk at supporting anything Sony does if he is calling the shots.
Sony is facing several lawsuits, from those who had personal information hacked to those who felt at risk because of the terror threat. There is no telling how much this may eventually cost Sony.
It will cost Sony approximately $70-100 million to repair their IT infrastructure and hard drives. That doesn't even include beefing up cyber-security.
There is a chance Pascal's superiors may look at all this and say to themselves that making films is no longer worth the headache for them. They could decide to sell all their movie properties and get out making films altogether and concentrate on other parts of their business.
Sony can get themselves out of this mess, but it will take a LOT of work and even more luck.