Sony Pictures originally intended to release ‘The Interview’ on Christmas Day. The release was cancelled because Sony’s “IT systems were hacked by a group called the “Guardians of Peace,” which had complained about the movie’s pending release. The group also warned of severe attacks on movie theaters showing the film.
In the cyberattack, thieves took a possible record haul of 100 terabytes of data — a slew of movies and other content, company secrets, personal information of employees and the social security numbers of celebrities. The FBI has blamed North Korea for that cyberattack. North Korea, in turn, slammed the United States for the accusation, reported CNN.
In my column last week I wrote about how many, especially Hollywood celebrities such as George Clooney, Rob Lowe, Jimmy Kimmel and even President Obama, were in an uproar over Sony’s cancellation of the film and accused Sony of cowardice and caving to the threats of North Korea.
At the time of the cancellation Sony indicated that they were considering a future release of the film in some sort of online format, CEO Michael Lynton told Fareed Zakaria of CNN Money.
Ultimately Sony ended up releasing the interview on Christmas Day as planned, through online formats such as YouTube and independent cinemas, according to CNN.
A few hundred movie theaters decided to go ahead and show the film on Christmas. Sony had originally planned to release the movie in 2,000 to 3,000 theaters, but only about 300 played it. Nonetheless, the film raked in $1 million on its first day. While there were threats of attacks on theaters that showed the film, no major incidents were reported.
All the brouhaha, likely turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Sony. While some think it was planned and credit as a brilliant publicity stunt, I think that is giving Sony too much credit. Either way, Sony likely made much more money off this film they would have without out the controversy, as I feel many people who would not have otherwise viewed the film did so because they felt it to be an act of patriotism. I am especially convinced of this as while I have not viewed the film myself, I have heard from several that the film is not that good.
Did Sony backtrack on their cancellation of ‘The Interview’ due to the backlash they experience from Hollywood celebrities and even President Obama? I suspect so. But regardless of Sony’s reasoning, I predicted that exactly this would happen in my last column! Boom! Sony realized they had screwed up, and this online release of the film is a weak attempt by Sony to save face.