Reality has been imitating art, and then it shoved art’s head in the toilet and gave it a wedgie on Wednesday, as North-Korean inspired hackers threatened to blow up movie theaters if Sony Pictures’ The Interview were released next week. Fearing that kind of mayhem, Sony has officially scrapped the release plans.
Throughout this hacking story, I’ve been thinking about one historical aspect I haven’t seen anyone mention: the Japanese occupation of Korea, that lasted from 1910 until Japan’s defeat in 1945. For the Koreans, those were years of national humiliation, starvation, incarceration and death. In fact, considering the division of the two Koreas, in 1945, one could suggest the trauma of the 1910 Japanese aggression is still with us.
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So, in light of that, I was wondering if all the Koreans, not just their crazy dictator, might not be delighted today, because they stuck it to this Japanese juggernaut where it hurts. Yes, I know the multinational conglomerate Sony is as Japanese as McDonald’s these days, but to a Korean hacker angry at those bastards who make fun of his leader—crazy or not—they’re still Sony.
So, it’s official, the ironic, satirical comedy has been murdered by grim faced terrorists without a sense of humor. According to Deadline, Sony didn’t really have much choice in the matter, since the top three theatre chains in North America—Regal Cinemas, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark Theatres—had already announced on Wednesday that they weren’t running the film, because they don’t want to pick up pieces off their viewers from under the seats between shows. Or, as they put it in their official statement:
“In 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.”
And just in case you were wondering (we weren’t), the U.S, Justice Department is going to announce today, according to sources in the FBI speaking to Deadline, that it was North Korean leaders who ordered the attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Late night host Jimmy Kimmel tweeted that the decision by theatres to refuse to show the film was “an un-American act of cowardice that validates terrorist actions and sets a terrifying precedent.”
And that’s from a man who used to date Sara Silverman, so he knows a thing or two about being terrified.
Sony’s share price has declined by just more than 5% since the November hack. The movie itself cost around $42 million. So that’s gone, too.