If Americans don’t feel safe going to their local movie theaters because of threats posed by North Korea and its hypersensitive, dyspeptic dwarf of a dictator, there is something deeply wrong with our national security apparatus. Yet that seems to be exactly what is going on over the new comedy The Interview, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco play bumbling, unlikely assassins dispatched to take out Kim Jong-un. Hackers attacked Sony, the parent company of the movie’s distributor, invoking 9/11 and threatening violence against anyone who goes to see it. Now, as Huffington Post reports, The Interview is being dropped by theaters around the country:
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Cineplex Entertainment have joined Carmike Cinemas in pulling the film from release.Landmark Sunshine Cinemas also canceled its New York premiere of the film, and another Northeast chain with 55 locations, Bow Tie Cinemas, decided to abandon plans to show the film following the threats. “The safety and comfort of our patrons is foremost in our minds,” Bow Tie CEO Ben Moss told Variety. Arclight Cinemas will also not show “The Interview.”
There have been cases of individuals being hounded into hiding in previous incidents like this, but this kind of capitulation is something else. It’s one thing to think the premiere would be targeted; quite another to think the local theater in Peioria is too unsafe. This situation is exactly what the national security apparatus is designed to handle, and if it has failed to work in this instance, it’s a disgrace.
(Admittedly, Sony just might, as a third option, be overplaying this for publicity purposes or to cover a flop—though the scale involved seems to suggest otherwise).