December 19, 2014
A lot of film industry folks are upset that Sony caved to hacker threats, presumably from North Korea, and cancelled release of the new Seth Rogan movie The Interview. The problem, say the critics, is that caving to terrorists might embolden future hackers to do more of this sort of thing. Maybe someday it will be hard to get a movie made if it has any controversial elements.
Keep in mind that Sony execs have been deeply embarrassed by the release of emails and there are probably more gems that could be released. And of course you have the threat of a 9-11 type terror attack if someone runs the movie.
I have a few thoughts on this issue.
For starters, if you believe that the individuals working at Sony should take personal risks with their lives and the lives of their families so you can see more shitty movies, you might be a bit of a terrorist yourself.
Is it Sony’s job to protect the American constitution? No. Their job is making money and trying to keep their employees and customers safe. How are they doing? Well, I would say that greenlighting the project was a mistake, in hindsight, but they certainly made up for it by eating a gazillion dollars of nearly guaranteed movie profit this year. I call that gutsy and smart. And they also don’t seem to be putting the blame on anyone else for getting into this situation. I give them A for their handling of the situation recently.
Are you truly worse off if there are fewer movies featuring dictators with exploding heads? I have a hard time seeing this as a slippery slope that prevents another Transformers movie from getting made. It might prevent more movies about North Korean dictators. Will you miss those? Team America was hilarious, but how many of those do we need?
We already have no Hollywood movies being made about the early days of Islam, presumably because no studio wants to be targeted. Have you missed those movies?
There is a 100% chance that I will someday see the banned Seth Rogan movie. I’ll watch anything with Seth Rogan. He earned that. And the Internet is too leaky to stop it from happening in the long run. Someday Sony will release it and make their money. No one loses anything in the long run.
Keep in mind that you and I don’t know what other bombshells are in the hacked files. But Sony probably knows, or suspects. So they are not operating on the same limited information that you are. That alone is reason to not second-guess their decision.
Do any of you believe that Sony employees should risk their lives, and the lives of movie-goers, so you can see more movies about dictators?
Disclaimer: I have worked with Sony on Dilbert projects in the past and might again someday.