What Does the Sony Hack Mean for ‘The Interview’?

Robert Marquardt/Getty Images

Robert Marquardt/Getty Images

Recently, Sony Pictures was hacked to the tune of thousands of social security numbers, payroll numbers, and upwards of 100 terrabytes of data. The resulting chaos that ensued was nothing short of unprecedented, as we’ve been treated to an eerie peek behind the curtain at one of Hollywood’s biggest studios. Internal company memoranda tell us of employee displeasure, and specific salary stats show us a company run primarily by white males. Amidst the rubble though, the real insanity has been a demand from the hackers that Sony not release The Interview, as Variety reports, a comedy in which Seth Rogen and James Franco are tasked by the CIA with assassinating Kim Jong-un.

Looking back through film history, it’s hard to find a comparable situation to the one we’re in now. Put simply, we’re very much in uncharted waters. North Korea, while denying responsibility for the hack, equates releasing The Interview with an act of terrorism, making for a potential international conflict we’ve never seen incited on this scale by a movie release. This makes it doubly curious that the actual hackers (if North Korea is indeed not the offending party) want The Interview to never see the light of day. GOP, the organization laying claim to the hack, issued the following statement concerning the film:

Immediately [stop] showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the war.

Line that up with North Korea’s aggressive stance, and it’s hard not to see some sort of link between GOP and the volatile East Asia nation.

Sony of course is put in a difficult situation; on one hand, they stand to make a ton of money on The Interview as a forbidden fruit. On the other, there’s always the risk that North Korea (and in turn the Sony hackers) go on some sort of offensive in the wake of a wide release. There’s also the consideration that no piece of art should be kept from the public just because a foreign dictator can’t take a joke. Not to mention any act of aggression from North Korea would represent the first war ever started by a movie release.

In the end, there’s very little chance Sony will pull The Interview from theaters. Unless they shore up their cyber security though, GOP may very well drop a ton of bricks on them in an attempt to make their first hack seem like nothing more than an introduction. The reality of the situation is that the importance of the movie has likely been blown way out of proportion, and that it stands to make far more money than it ever would have had North Korea not labeled it “a blatant act of terrorism and war,” per Time. The Interview goes wide December 25, and now has massive expectations to live up to thanks in large part to the very man the film looked to make fun of. All this of course begs the question: Where was North Korea when Team America: World Police was released?

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