Sony cancels The Interview’s release fearing threats

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Sony’s controversial Christmas Day comedy release “The Interview” is canceled following a series of leaks that exposed the politics happening behind Hollywood’s silver screen. In a sequence of events that unfolded over the past few days, the Guardians Of Peace threatened violence and engaged in cyber-warfare against the movie that centres around two funny journalists in the pursuit of Kim Jong-un.

Incensed by the release of what was supposed to be a $44 million comedy caper from funny men Seth Rogen and James Franco, Sony Corp was attacked by hackers leaking personal emails discussing work on other projects, employee details and unreleased movies distributing this information all over the world wide web.

A U.S. government source declared that Washington D.C. will officially announce who is behind the attack in the near future.

On Wednesday, when journalists asked if the movie will eventually be released in theaters or go straight to VOD, a Sony spokeswoman said, “Sony has no further release plans for the film.”

Security experts in Washington D.C. believe it is common knowledge that North Korea is behind the attacks, a fact vehemently denied by the Korean counterpart. Jim Lewis, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies says, “The North Koreans are probably tickled pink. Nobody has ever done anything this blatant in terms of political manipulation. This is a new high.”

Sony has come under criticism for its decision to pull the plug on the release of the movie, some viewing it as America’s first casualty in the cyber-war between the West and the East.

Former Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich’s tweet sums up the reaction many Americans feel regarding the decision and its effect politically.

Despite the recent spate of attacks, Sony’s shares in Tokyo closed 4.8 percent higher than its previous 2.3 percent gain on the Nikkei benchmark index, on Thursday. Investors hope that the movie’s cancellation will end this crisis.

Makoto Kikuchi, CEO of Myojo Asset Management says, “By not releasing the movie, they won’t be hacked again. Investors think that from here on, further damage probably won’t be done. Whether that justifies a 5 percent jump in Sony’s stock, I’m not so sure.” Damian Thong, Macquarie Group’s analyst estimates that with the leaks, Sony’s worst case scenario is a loss of $84.41 million.

Sony stood by the film makers of “The Interview,” but said that it was, “ deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company.”

Despite threats of a 9/11 styled attack on theaters that play and movie goers that watch the movie, the U.S. believes that there is no credible evidence of such threats to civilians.

By Rathan Paul Harshavardan