— The Interview (@TheInterview) December 15, 2014
Every time something big happens in the world, there’s some sort of round up of Hollywood reaction on social media. On most occasions, it’s kind of like, “Who cares?” We don’t need to know what Selena Gomez thinks about falling oil prices or the elections in some faraway land. But Hollywood is sounding off on the decision to pull The Interview from theaters and this is something that is right in their wheelhouse.
The group (or country) behind the massive Sony hack that’s been topping the headlines sent out a warning that there would be repercussions for any theater that shows The Interview on its screens. Sony said they would respect whatever decision the theater companies made in response. Right away, the largest theater companies, from AMC Entertainment to Regal Entertainment and beyond, said they wouldn’t show the film. (In Dallas, they’re replacing The Interview with Team America*, which is why it’s trending on Twitter.) So Sony killed the whole thing.
The outrage from Hollywood has been fast and furious on Twitter, with many expressing anger and disappointment that there wouldn’t be a bigger stand for freedom of expression.
Really hard to believe this is the response to a threat to freedom of expression here in America. #TheInterview
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) December 18, 2014
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) December 17, 2014
Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them. Wow. — Rob Lowe (@RobLowe) December 17, 2014
Canceling “The Interview” seems like a pretty horrible precedent to set. — Zach Braff (@zachbraff) December 17, 2014
Interestingly, this is one time when Republican government actually agrees with Hollywood. Of course, they took it in a slightly different direction.
No one should kid themselves. With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very very dangerous precedent.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) December 17, 2014
And Sen. John McCain called it “profoundly troubling,” though he then turned it into another failure by President Obama. (Sigh.)
In a way, we’re already seeing some of the repercussions that Hollywood is worried about. Steve Carell was meant to make a movie focused on North Korea called Pyongyang with Gore Verbinski and New Regency and that has also been cancelled.
Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul
— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) December 17, 2014
Vox says Sony’s “cowardice will reach out and infect the rest of Hollywood’s decision making for years to come,” which is likely. The article goes on to make a really solid case for this take on the situation, noting that it’s not the loss of another Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy that should be worrisome, but the censorship of future content that might cause controversy that should cause concern. Movies, even silly ones like The Interview, are a form of artistic expression, a different (hopefully interesting) look at the world in which we live.
Underneath everything, the hack has revealed, Vox says, that Sony may not have been all that supportive of the film to begin with. But the company needed to be supportive of the movie industry as a whole, and taking a stand in this instance would’ve done that. With all of the negative revelations coming from the hack, this would’ve been one positive bit for Sony’s reputation.
*Update: Now Paramount is canceling the Team America showings.