Amidst an ongoing cyber-hacking scandal and terrorist threats, Sony Pictures has cancelled the release of Seth Rogan and James Franco’s The Interview.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Sony Pictures has officially scrapped plans to release the film about assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. In a statement released just after 2 p.m. on Deadline, Sony cites the recent “criminal assault” and safety concerns made public earlier this week.
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
Earlier today, we reported that theatre chains, including Cineplex, would not be showing the film in light of the recent terrorist threats. Any plans for a future release have not been made public.
The 112-minute long Vancouver-filmed movie had a production cost of US$44-million, which excludes another $60-million spent on marketing costs and penalty payments for cancelling its theatrical release. It was scheduled for a December 25 release and would have likely opened in the $20-million range.
Prior to today’s cancellation, Sony Corporation CEO Kazuo Hirai had expressed significant concern over the movie’s plot and forced Sony Pictures to tone down scenes where Kim Jong-un is assassinated. Rogen, a co-director of the movie, included scenes such as face melting, hair fire and a head explosion.
Sony is based in Japan, which frequently deals with political tensions from neighbouring North Korea.
This is not the first time a living head of state has been depicted in an fictional assassination. In the 2004 puppet film Team America: World Police, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone impaled now-deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il on a Pickelhaube and revealed him to be an alien cockroach.
Featured Image: Sony Pictures via Shutterstock