Woah. Holy backlash, Batman.
Sony’s decision to pull the film shredded sympathy in the creative community and drew ridicule as well as recrimination.
“Dear Sony Hackers: now that u run Hollywood, I’d also like less romantic comedies, fewer Michael Bay movies and no more Transformers,” tweeted the filmmaker Michael Moore.
Sony was labelled the coward, but others quietly lobbied to drop the film.
Cinema chains feared audiences would steer clear of theatres showing The Interview. AMC cited “overall confusion and uncertainty that has been created in the marketplace”.
Shopping malls also reportedly lobbied to drop the film lest screenings deter skittish Christmas shoppers.
Legal experts warned of potentially enormous liability for Sony and theatres if there were any incident, whether committed by terrorists or copycat attention-seekers.
Rival studio executives with their own Christmas films worried about losing revenues during a key box office month.
“We’re all afraid people aren’t going to go to theaters in general because of the threat,” an unnamed studio executive told the LA Times. “The theaters are supposed to be an escape for people to get entertained … If they don’t show up, it could be disastrous.”
There’s no way Sony did not see this coming, so we must necessarily conclude that the material that the hackers held back in anticipation of a Christmas surprise was really bad. Like, worse than $60 million bad. One can only imagine…
Or, alternatively, write tiresome moralising articles like this:
What’s more, crowding the North Korea “story” with anecdotes of nutty behavior and amusing delusions may ironically benefit those in charge in Pyongyang. It serves to buffer and obscure thesheer evil of a regime that enslaves children and sentences entire families to death for crimes of thought, while building ski resorts, dolphinariums, and other luxury escapes for elites with funds that could feed its malnourished people for several years. How many people would have watched The Interview and concluded that they should do something to help change this odious regime and bring about human rights for North Koreans?
But let’s cut to the chase here. What did Sony think it was doing by allowing the movie to be made in the first place? Did it not anticipate that there would be a backlash?
The plot, which involves the CIA encouraging two journalists to assassinate Kim, could not be more controversial. It was bound to provoke anger. And an angry rogue was unlikely to turn the other cheek.
Sony can argue all it likes about artistic freedom – as can the movie’s directors, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, and their writer, Dan Sterling – but to depict the killing of a living political leader, even in comic terms, was surely going way beyond good sense (and good manners and good taste).
I appreciate that no-one should be beyond parody. What is surely unacceptable, however, is to encourage the idea that it would be a good wheeze to kill a president.
Or a dozen other dreary first-world whines penned by the Mrs. De Ropps of this world, who were raised on a diet of gluten-free Ryvita and trigger warnings. Because obviously the best way to fight North Korea’s attacks is by becoming as humourless, censorious and illiberal as possible.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration intends to consider a ‘proportionate response‘, which has to be the single most boring threat I’ve ever not bothered reading to the end of (though I have to say that if you gave me a million years I couldn’t come up with a better name for a White House spokesman than ‘Josh Earnest’). No one – least of all, it seems, the DoD – has the faintest idea what constitutes a ‘proportionate response’ in these circumstances. Sulking? The pillory? An invasion of an entirely uninvolved Middle Eastern country? Answers on a postcard please.