That didn’t take long. Just a couple hours after President Obama weighed in on the ongoing Sony hacking scandal, the president of company, Michael Lynton, gave his version of what’s happened, and it’s worth paying attention. In all the coverage of “The Interview” being pulled from cinemas, it has been forgotten by many that it was the major cinema owners who first refused to carry the film in the wake of threats from hackers.
“In this instance, the president, the press, and the public are mistaken on what actually happened,” CEO Michael Lynton told CNN. “We do not own movie theaters, we can not determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.” It’s a good point, so too is the one that Sony is dealing with a situation that no one in their industry, and certainly no other corporation, has ever faced before.
“We experienced the worst cyberattack in American history and persevered for three and a half weeks under enormous stress and enormous difficulty, all with the effort of trying to keep our business up and running and get this movie out to the public,” Lyton added.
“We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie,” the executive said. So where is the VOD release of “The Interview,” you might be asking (for the tenth time)? It turns out, like the major cinema chains, VOD companies too were fearful of taking on the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy.
“There are a number of options open to us and we have considered those and are considering them,” Lynton said about trying to release the film. “As it stands right now—while there have been a number of suggestions that we go out there and deliver this movie digitally or through VOD, there has not been one major VOD—video on demand distributor—one major e-commerce site that has stepped forward and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us. Again, we don’t have that direct interface with the American public so we need to go through an intermediary to do that.”
So now the questions is who will step up? The theater chains and VOD company are understandably worried about liability and/or their businesses being compromised. And Sony isn’t entirely blameless either, not helping their own perception by wiping the existence of the film from the website and YouTube channels. But there are still options for getting “The Interview” out there, with a model that also includes a method through which to earn back some of the money lost on the film: BitTorrent.