It may not have unfolded with the normal pre-opening fanfare Sony Entertainment planned, nonetheless the premier of The Interview that portrayed the assignation of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un did nothing to derail or solve a new cyber-bullying like we have not seen to date.
Soon after reports surfaced that the most intimate information possessed by a major production studio had fallen into the hands of hackers associated with North Korea or possibly even Russia, studio executives made the decision to pull one of their major holiday releases after major chains voiced concern over threats or opening day chaos.
Like many, when I first heard of Sony’s decision to ditch the release I was angry that a nation controlled by an wicked dictator whose executive skills probably couldn’t manage a carnival cotton candy stand could control a multi-billion dollar entertainment company. After all, any Saturday Night Live skit or late night comedian could decimate the baby-faced dictator more effectively than this movie did.
But I kept asking myself; why did Sony give in and didn’t their decision only empower those behind the attack?
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However Sony may have the last laugh after all for the reason that the movie may not have performed well against better Christmas time releases but scored points with a Hail-Mary decision to release the movie on-line. You might have robo called in a bomb threat to couple of thousand theaters nationwide but it’s a little harder to hack two million video streams. Even with so much sharing taking place, Sony still recouped a portion of their costs with little effort.
The Interview opened in about 331 independent theaters on Christmas Day and as of Sunday, had made $15 million off video streaming. And $5.99 of that was mine.
Some argue it would have made more under normal circumstances but I don’t think it would have broken any revenue records.
Why you ask? It was a terrible movie. I’m no Roger Elbert but in short the movie was stupid, had a terrible plot and lacked even decent acting given the talent it contained. It was also cruel and gross at times. Give me Dumb and Dumber or Talladega Nights: The Ballard of Ricky Bobby any day.
Sony’s bottom line aside, my concern is with the impact rogue nations such as North Korea or Russia can have on American commerce. May even a group of brilliant teenagers can bring down Wall Street on a bet. I hope not. It was extortion in its purest form.
To further complicate matters, some experts are expressing doubt North Korea was behind the attack at all, instead, taking credit for a power play that gave them huge publicity and strength in the eyes of their enemies. Movie pulled, Kim gets elevated to the status of Vladimir Putin and Sony loses money. That’s a good days work.
Yet closer to home I worry my bank or credit union will be hacked and I cannot access my funds or what info and family pictures I have in the “cloud” is compromised. Worse yet, the names of CIA agents and our most closely guarded nation secrets that in my opinion should stay just that; secrets.
The desire we should all have is our country’s best intelligence agencies can stop any future attacks and punish those responsible for this hideous crime. We should encourage our government to pursue this crime with all available resources and that next time it’s not something greater than a movie.
Who knows, maybe Kim Jong-un’s Katy Perry collection will be replaced with Grateful Dead songs played backwards.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.