If you, like me, are one of the many people who spend all of your free time perusing the internet, (let’s face it, you probably are), the chances are you’re full aware of the whole Sony scandal. Days before it was due to be released across theatres, Sony snatched the upcoming movie “The Interview” away from the grasp of the public, due to terrorism threats. The Interview, set to star Seth Rogan, and Green Goblin Junior from the days of Tobey Maguire as Spiderman, is a comedic film about potentially assassinating Kim Jong Un. Strangely, however, the aforementioned dictator didn’t feel comfortable about being pretend-murdered for comedy, and promised to deliver a merciless response if Sony went through with the release on Christmas Day.
Shortly after those threats were given, Sony was hacked, releasing a bunch of pretty embarrassing emails for the world to see. But North Korea didn’t stop at making Sony read it’s notes out to the class, it also went a little further, and threatened to unleash mass murder if they dared release the film. As you can imagine, theatres everywhere started backtracking out of their contracts, and Sony cancelled the release of the movie. After that, New Regency cancelled the release of a Steve Carell film about North Korea, making it plainly obvious how all respond to threats.
Of course, after all these threats and danger take place, what happens? The Interview hits theatres after all. The day before Christmas Eve (23rd of December), Sony Pictures announced that the movie will be screened at a number of independent theatres on Christmas day. Furthermore, Sony has said that the movie will be available on a kind of video-on-demand service, though the details for that aren’t quite set in stone.
According to the Entertainment Chief Executive, Michael Lynton, the company is proud to release a movie to the public that have stood up against the North Koreans fighting against “free speech.”
At first, it would have made sense to draw “The Interview” away from theatres, after all, the owners of a number of major theatres had claimed that they wouldn’t show the movies, and nobody wanted to drive patrons away from the box office at Christmas. However, after the out-cry that rose up in response to Sony’s decision, the company needed a way to look like they weren’t quite as afraid as they actually were. By showing the movie in certain cinemas, Sony gets the opportunity to act as though they’re standing up to the bad guys, (whether they actually are, or not).
The Fortune of Fear
Everything that’s happened with Sony may just seem like the crazy response of people who have had their dirty laundry aired, but the unfortunate truth is that most of us seem to have a history of panicking and running away at the first sign of trouble – especially lately. Remember when Team America started showing in theatres during 2005, and nobody cared in the slightest if North Korea grumbled about it? Or what about when Muhammad featured as a character in South Park during 2001? Today, we’ve banned that episode of South Park from hitting TV screens, and independent theatres are no longer permitted to show Team America.
From a surface view, it may seem like these corporations are simply doing things out of the fear that an attack could leave them liable, or frightened for their lives. However, the honest truth is that it’s probably more about money. Fear is a direct tap into the vein of fortune. The more scared we are, the more we buy, and the more we consume. Threats make us stay in our homes, buy guns, pay extra money on security and stress eat the world out of chocolate and ice-cream.
What’s more, overcoming that threat, or feeling a sense of empowerment, is an even better way to make more money than ever. By showing this threat of fear and then providing us with a sense of community, where Americans everywhere come together to say “no” to terrorism, you’re more convinced than ever to buy.
The whole problem that’s happened with Sony lately has likely multiplied the amount that they’ll be raking in at theatres when the movie is released by millions. Why? Because people want to feel as though they’re part of something – a force in standing up against “the man”, whoever that man might be.