Yesterday morning, anonymous hackers posted an extremely vague threat of violence against cinemas that choose to run The Interview, a Sony Pictures film that might be the cause of their recent hacker troubles. Today, reports indicate the $44 million movie is pretty much called off. (UPDATED)
Update: The Interview is now officially canceled, Variety reports, per a statement from Sony:
"Un light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome."
Un light? Is that... a typo or a North Korea pun?
Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment have all decided against showing the film.
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.
What exactly are these chains afraid of? I have no idea, and I don't think they do either. I received the warning yesterday from someone claiming to be part of the "Guardians of Peace," a hacker collective at the root of Sony's cataclysmic security:
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you'd better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
Spooky, maybe, but credible? It's hard to reconcile the actual execution of cyber-violence with a nebulous threat of physical violence. If the prevailing theory of North Korean revenge is correct, then taking this threat seriously means taking seriously the notion that the North Korean hackers would come to the United States and attack American movie theaters. Or that the North Korean government would, what? Start carpet bombing malls? The message read more like the escalating rhetoric of a group that's getting global attention and wants to keep up that clip—scare tactics, not military tactics.
But now it doesn't matter. The Guardians of Peace—whoever they are! We still don't know who they are!—just axed a $44 million motion picture with an anonymous post on Pastebin. They are, beyond any doubt, extremely good at what they do: fucking things up for Sony. The only silver lining for the thoroughly trounced Sony Pictures is that the movie was going to be a turd anyway.