The action-comedy, Kim Jong-un assassination satire film The Interview and all related press events have been cancelled by Sony Pictures Entertainment who made an official statement that stated they “have no future release plans for the film”.
Hackers who recently compromised Sony’s computer system made threats against releasing the film, and an anonymous U.S. official involved in ongoing criminal investigation of the hacking stated North Korea was connected to the hacking activities. The Interview was set to release on Christmas Day and there are currently no plans for a video on-demand/home video release.
“We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome,” read Sony’s official statement. This past June, North Korea sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon denouncing the movie as “undisguised sponsoring of terrorism, as well as an act of war.”
Initially, Sony Pictures left decision to release The Interview to theater owners, which prompted the three biggest theater chains (Regal Cinemas, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Theatres) and others to announce they would postpone any showings of the film.
The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists told to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their interview with him. Rogen also co-directed this satire (take something familiar and make fun of it by imitating it) film with Evan Goldberg. The film’s budget was reported at about 40 million dollars. The film was widely expected to earn close to 100 million dollar during its theatrical release. The Interview may never been seen, but it certainly was a touchstone for major worldwide issues.
In 2012, North Korea banned the film 2012 because it coincides with Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday and was designated “the year for opening the grand gates to becoming a rising superpower” by North Korea. North Korean officials deemed 2012 offensive since the film negatively depicted the year and reportedly arrested their citizens for possessing or viewing 2012 charging them with “grave provocation against the development of the state.”
Films about the assassination of world leaders are nothing new. In 2006, the “mockumentary”, political thriller Death of a President gained worldwide attention for depicting U.S. President George W. Bush’s demise and the resulting aftermath.
What are your thoughts? Do you think you will ever get to see The Interview?
See today’s official release from Sony below:
As is being widely reported in the press, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) experienced a significant system disruption on Monday, November 24, 2014. SPE has determined that the cause of the disruption was a brazen cyber attack. After identifying the disruption, SPE took prompt action to contain the cyber attack, engaged recognized security consultants and contacted law enforcement.
SPE learned on December 1, 2014, that the security of certain personally identifiable information about its current and former employees, and their dependents, that participated in SPE health plans and other benefits, and certain production employees potentially may have been compromised. Although SPE is in the process of investigating the scope of the cyber attack, SPE believes that the following types of personally identifiable information that such individuals provided to SPE potentially may have been obtained by unauthorized individuals: (i) name, (ii) address, (iii) social security number, driver’s license number, passport number, and/or other government identifier, (iv) bank account information, (v) credit card information for corporate travel and expense, (vi) username and passwords, (vii) compensation and (viii) other employment related information. In addition, unauthorized individuals may have obtained (ix) HIPAA protected health information, such as name, social security number, claims appeals information submitted to SPE (including diagnosis), date of birth, home address, and member ID number to the extent that the potentially impacted individuals participated in SPE health plans, and (x) health/medical information provided to SPE outside of SPE health plans.
Also on December 1, 2014, SPE began the process of notifying employees that it would be providing identity theft protection services to them and to their dependents. SPE has continued to reach out to potentially impacted individuals with notification about this situation, to offer identity protection services and to provide them with information about how to protect themselves from identity theft and other potential loss. SPE is encouraging potentially impacted employees and former employees to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information, as neither SPE nor anyone acting on its behalf would contact them in any way, including by email, asking for credit card number, social security number/government identifier or other personally identifiable information. Individuals asked for this information can be confident SPE is not the entity asking. To protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss, SPE encourages potentially impacted employees and former employees to remain vigilant, review account statements, monitor credit reports to the extent available, change passwords and to enroll promptly in the identity theft protection services made available to them by SPE.
The purpose of this press release is to take further steps to make sure that potentially impacted individuals receive this information.
Potentially affected individuals can review the full text of individual notifications and/or obtain information about AllClear ID identity protection services that may be available to them at sonypictures.com or by calling the SPE Information and Support Hotline. The U.S. toll free number is: (866) 361-8961; the international number is: +1 (262) 222-0434.