To be clear, I had neither plans nor, indeed, desire to see "The Interview." If the advertising is any indication, the movie--a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un--is an unmitigated piece of crap. Still, the decision by Sony Studios to abandon plans for a Christmas Day release, in response to threats of violence and/or continued cyberattacks on the corporation, is disappointing to say the least.
In Sony's defense, I'm not sure they had much choice. Earlier in the week, the largest theater chains in the country had already announced their plans to pull the film. Still, what kind of precedent has been set? A few hardcore lunatics depriving the world of two hours of dick jokes from Seth Rogen and James Franco may not seem like that great a tragedy, but what happens when a controversial film with actual artistic merit becomes the target? If the internet had been around when "The Last Temptation of Christ" was released, would a band of tech-savvy Christian fundamentalists have succeeded in shutting down that film? Assuming there is such a thing as a tech-savvy Christian fundamentalist. Maybe that's a bad example. But you get the point.
If the studio has truly given up on the thought of releasing the film in theaters, I have a modest proposal: Sony should post the whole thing on YouTube right now. Why not? They've already lost any money they sank into producing the movie, and hackers have already damaged the company tremendously with their steady release of embarrassing Sony documents. What have they got to lose? More importantly, by posting the movie online, Sony will thwart the terrorists who sought to stop the film's release, all while allowing people to see the movie in the comfort and safety of their own homes. The film would find an exponentially greater audience than it could ever have found in the theaters. Hell, I might even watch it, if only out of spite.
C'mon, Sony: Korea subjected us to "Gangnam Style"; let's show these hackers that payback's a bitch.