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Saturday, April 20, 2019
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Gianvito: Sony attempts to protect profits

the interview

The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogan, has been pulled from theaters by Sony due to terroristic cyber attacks suspected of originating from the North Korean government. 

Sony’s decision to axe the movie The Interview due to an unprecedented cyber attack, which U.S. officials are blaming on North Korea, could have a lot to do with protecting its profits, said John Gianvito, a filmmaker and Emerson associate professor.

gianvitoGianvito, of Visual and Media Arts, said Sony’s decision to not release The Interview on Christmas day might be rooted in protecting other films being released over the holidays.

“The holidays and the summer are when the industry makes its biggest dollars,” Gianvito said. “Those films generally don’t play in single theaters; they play in multiplexes. If [people] were scared [to see The Interview], they’d be scared to see all holiday films.”

Sony has probably lost about $100 million already due to the cyber attacks, according to Bloomberg News.

EaganOwen Eagan, a Communication Studies executive-in-residence who specializes in crisis communications, said the cyber attack should be a major learning experience for the entertainment industry.

“Sony needs to adopt a plan to ensure that these data breaches never happen again,” Eagan said. “The cost of avoidance and damage to their reputation certainly warrant this investment.”

Numerous celebrities took to Twitter on December 17 to slam Sony for choosing to nix the release of The Interview, a comedy starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. Cyber terrorists, who are now suspected as being connected to the North Korean government, threatened terroristic acts if the movie, which pokes fun at North Korea’s isolationist-style government, is released.

Rob Lowe, Jimmy Kimmel, Judd Apatow, and other celebrities tweeted that Sony’s decision sets a bad precedent.

Even though the film will not be released, President Obama is urging Americans to continue to go to the movies.

“The intelligence community has not deemed this a credible threat,” Eagan said. “I think people should heed the president’s advice.”

Gianvito, who has made documentary films on 9/11 and Afghanistan, said he doesn’t blame Sony for pulling The Interview—and points out that movies and television shows are often delayed after national tragedies if they might be offensive. He also errs on the side of safety.

“There could be some opportunist we don’t know about who would take advantage of something like this,” he said.