So much has been made over Sony’s decision not to show the movie “The Interview.” Allegedly, that decision was because of the threats made by North Korean hackers when word of the movie and its contents were made public.
I had a couple of thoughts about this move, one of which has proven to be true. My first thought was that if I was North Korea’s American PR rep, I would have told them to ignore the movie as nothing would come of it. I mean, seriously, can any movie with Seth Rogen be any good? Let the movie open and it will die the quick death that it likely deserves.
My second and more pertinent thought was a highly cynical one: Sony knew the movie was a dog and wasn’t thrilled about opening it. They knew it would open to critical derision and would close, probably within a couple of weeks, with the only ticket sales coming because virtually nothing else is out there. The only reason it didn’t go direct to video was because of the amount of money it cost to make this (likely) dog.
Then Sony’s emails were hacked. That gave them the best opportunity ever with regard to this crappy movie. They could refuse to let it open, citing “theater chains” being afraid for the employees and patrons. They could, at that point, say ‘due to safety concerns and refusal by theater chains to air the film, we reluctantly will not distribute this movie. We won’t distribute the movie now or ever.’
They knew the firestorm that would hit. Surely, Sony knew the media would overplay this nonsense, the movie would get buzz it otherwise wouldn’t have – after all the movie stars Seth Rogen and James Franco – and that they could then distribute the move and open it because it now had “buzz.”
No, no, really, North Korea’s threats about this movie were what made Sony hold back. It had nothing to do with the fact that the movie was a sure dog, a sure “miss,” a movie that would in time be compared to “Ishtar.”
So what then happens? Yup. After much media condemnation, after much hand-wringing from almost every quarter, including President Obama, many “exit interviews” with movie goers saying ‘yeah, I’d watch the movie’ or ‘I wanna know why North Korea was so upset,’ or ‘I don’t like censorship so I’d go see the movie,’ Sony decides to release this movie.
Does anyone else smell something here? Let’s face it: the movie will now get a huge turnout, more people going to watch this thing than would have otherwise. It has a Christmas opening now for crying out loud! Think about it: this movie, again it must be noted, stars Seth Rogen. I don’t mean to keep bagging on Rogen, but has he been in anything that was any good? So how good could “The Interview” possibly be?
Sony wins in this. Not movie goers. Not free speech. It had nothing to do with free speech, it had nothing to do with censorship. It had everything to do with a cynical corporate decision to manipulate the negative press it had been receiving due to the release of emails the corporate officers wrote, to get those things out of the media eye. Are we hearing anything more about the racist, catty emails any longer? No. The narrative is now about Sony backing down to bully North Korean computer hacker tactics and threats. And then its “brave” decision to release the movie to “independent theaters.” Again, Sony wins.
Please, don’t buy into the hype or new narrative. Don’t reward the cynical, manipulative corporate actions. Don’t go see this dog of a movie. Let it die the ignominious death it deserves. Let the movie go into obscurity.