Film Threat

« December 2014 »

Memo to Sony and various theater chains: WAIT, WHAT?

I freely admit that I have been caught completely off guard by the whole pontifigurd surrounding "The Interview". I remember North Korea being mad when the trailer came out, and everyone laughing at them because ha ha, we made a movie with your Great Leader in it, what are you going to do about it, tough guys?

Now, all of a sudden, I flip through my news feed and I see that The Interview won't be opening on Christmas Day, that it may well not be released in theaters at all, and all of this is because some hackers with a weak grasp of English invoked 9/11 and threatened massive violence against every place the movie would be shown and also enough of a radius to affect nearby homeowners.

Somewhere in between there Sony got hacked, the new Annie movie got leaked to BitTorrent where it was pirated by millions of people who would not have given a shit about the new Annie if its leak hadn't been big news, and a couple of Sony execs got outed as racists I guess? Like I said, I've kind of fallen behind on the whole thing. Wait a sec, there's that newfangled Google, isn't there?

Oh, that. Yeah, on a scale of one to ten, one being Martin Luther King Jr. and 10 being the comments thread on any Michael Brown article, the Sony e-mails rate about a four on the racism scale. Not great. Seems like the outrage level has been pretty appropriate, considering.

Anyway, back to the movie. The movie clearly fell victim to worst-case scenario paranoia. Americans in general are awful at assessing risk, and the constant culture of fear has made it worse. We're told to be scared of everything, all the time, so it's tough for people to figure out what they should actually be scared of. Here's a hint - a bunch of people talking shit on the Internet about blowing up a couple of thousand movie theaters across America is not one of those things.

But movie theaters are businesses and most of them are owned by big corporations and nobody wants to have their name in the news in the nigh-impossible event that Something Did Happen. It's easier to play it safe. It's easier to be scared. It's easier to dump the movie. Everyone's just going to go see Night At The Museum 3 anyway.

It's not like I was even planning to see The Interview. I run hot and cold and cold and cold with Rogen and Franco, and nearly all the hot is thanks to This Is The End. But I extend the following offer to any video streaming service out there. Pick up The Interview and let me stream it into my home by, say, January 15, and I'll subscribe for at least a year. This includes Hulu Plus, which is impressive, because Hulu Plus pisses me off more than any other streaming service.*

Of course, I don't know what I'll do if one of the two services I do subscribe to picks it up. If it's Netflix, I guess I'll sign up for aa second disc a month or something. If it's the WWE Network, well, I'll be very surprised.

I mean, seriously, this wasn't even a threat to one screen. It certainly wasn't a threat to 1,500. But it definitely wouldn't be a threat to millions of Rokus. I mean, they're pretty good hackers, but it's not like Rokus have remote detonators they can trigger or anything.

Think of the publicity. Think of the blow for artistic freedom. Think of not actually being scared off by a really badly-written text file leaked to reporters. Especially you, Amazon. Then when I kept my end of the bargain I'd get two-day shipping along with it.

*I think I've said this before, but seriously, fuck anyone who puts free content on one platform (PC) but requires a subscription for the same content on another device like a tablet. It's almost 2015. Nobody gives a shit about platforms anymore.