Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sony should release The Interview online

North Korea was the last place for innovation but their threat against Sony could hasten the end of theaters as we know them.
Conservative Newt Gingrich, no friend of Hollywood, tweeted that Sony should release “The Interview” for free online, and also release a version in Korean.
Tweeters called for Apple and Netflix to offer the movie to counter the threats from Pyongyang. Blowing up Kim Jong-un’s head is no worse than many things in video games played everyday. Players “power up,” meaning putting on a belt of explosives, to go into a school and kill students. News broadcasts show what the Taliban has done in Afghanistan.
Major theater chains have refused to show the comedy directed by Seth Rogen with James Franco as his acting partner because of threats by hackers. The hackers warned the public not to go to the movie. The New York Times said U.S. investigators had confirmed North Korea was behind the threat. The movie was to be released on Christmas Day. The movie had briefly been available online after hackers got into the Sony site. Some Tweeted that American hackers should gain access to the movie and make it public on the Pirate Bay or elsewhere. The infamous site shut down after Swedish police raided it, but other versions are operating, including from Costa Rica. It is not clear what the reaction of the dictator’s regime would be if the movie is released online. Would they still attack? Who? If any such attack occurred, and it was confirmed that North Korea was involved, it likely would lead to a reaction against the regime. “The U.S. has gone reckless in such provocative hysteria as bribing a rogue movie maker to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK. “… Absolutely intolerable is the distribution of such film in the U.S. as it is the most undisguised terrorism and a war action to deprive the service personnel and people of the DPRK of their mental mainstay and bring down its social system," read a statement posted to the North Korean state-run Web site. What if it had been a Lego movie? What about Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Dictator.” Critics of free speech and art need to recognize that some of it will be unpleasant.
Are theaters like printed books?
CBS, for example, is bypassing cable operators and offering its shows. Netflix and iTunes offer movies, either by streaming or download. The big screen may be the only thing theaters have going for them. But wasn’t the Betamax technically better than VHS. Video stores are gone.

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