Sony Pictures has decided to not premiere “The Interview” this Chrismas season, after several movie theaters have said they would not show the movie due to terrorist concerns. The hacker group responsible for the recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment sent threatening emails to theaters demanding them to abandon showing the movie, going far as making references to the 9/11 attacks that terrorized American society in 2001.
The self-proclaimed “Guardians of Peace” (GOP), launched a targeted cyber attack on Sony Pictures, crashing their entire computer system and stealing massive amounts of data, including information on the movies yet to be released. They posted a message on a file sharing website on Dec. 16 (local time), which reads “Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made,” claiming, “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. ” They also sent threatening messages saying, “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)” The GOP also released the data files they stole from Sony Pictures as their pre-announced “Christmas present.”
“The Interview” is a movie that comically pictures a show host and a producer of an American talk show who are given an opportunity to do an interview with Kim Jung-un, the leader of North Korea. They are then ordered to assassinate him by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The subject matter of the movie brought about a strong response from North Korea.
Sony Pictures was planning to showcase the movie in 63 countries worldwide, and the premiere was scheduled to be held in Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema located in Manhattan, New York on Dec. 18, followed by simultaneous openings in both the United States and Canada on the Christmas holiday of Dec. 25, after which the movie would have been shown in the United Kingdom and France early next year. But the studio has canceled all of these plans.
The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is currently looking into the hacking attack and stated that they are aware of the threats from the hacker group. The FBI gave an announcement that they are “maintaining close coordination with related authorities for the investigation on the matter,” though they refused to speak on whether there is North Korea or another country behind the cyber attack.