Leaked information from the “Sony Hacks” that started this past November 24 has unveiled a bevy of insider knowledge – from salaries, budgets, personal details about major industry figures, and surprises for several franchise films. The situation has since taken a much darker turn when the hacker group responsible – who call themselves The Guardians of Peace – issued a threat to Sony Pictures regarding The Interview premiere and screenings and invoked 9/11, thereby halting press for the film’s stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and even calling into question whether the movie will be released at all.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”
That was the message sent to Sony earlier this week. Many have speculated since the original hack that North Korea is responsible, due to the nature of The Interview involving the fictional assassination of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un. The above statement has only fueled this theory further. North Korea has denied their involvement, yet has also voiced their support for the hacks, according to Variety. North Korea has been highly vocal in the past for their aversion to the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (This Is the End) directed film, even calling it “an act of terrorism” themselves. As we covered here back in June, a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry told CNN, “If the U.S. administration connives at and patronizes the screening of the film, it will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure.”
Since the latest threat, both Rogen and Franco have cancelled all press events for the film including appearances on Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as a sit-down with BuzzFeed, who originally reported on the press suspension.
The approaching December 25 world premiere leaves many in trepidation. The National Association of Theater Owners released a statement this morning saying that until those responsible are apprehended, “individual cinema operators may decide to delay exhibition of the movie.” Now comes word that the top five theater chains in the U.S. – Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas, and Cineplex Entertainment – have all decided not to show the movie in their theaters.
Sony Pictures has yet to comment on the most recent cyber attack; however, their actions in keeping Rogen and Franco out of harm’s way likely proves they are taking the threats seriously.