Sony pulls movie “The Interview” after cyber-attack, terror threats by North Korea

Thanks, North Korea.

Now all I can think about is seeing a movie I had no intention of seeing.

You see, apparently North Korea, the most repressive place on the entire planet, has collectively freaked out over Sony’s new comedy “The Interview,” about the assassination of North Korean leader-for-life Kim Jong Un.

The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogan.


Pull the film, or the puppy dies.
(Seth Rogan and James Franco in the film, “The Interview.”)

In response, the North Korean government launched a cyber-attack on Sony, releasing the private medical records of Sony employees, among other thigns, and then threatened to launch terrorist attacks on cinemas that showed the movie (invoking September 11, of all things).

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 5.13.51 PM

Dear god I have to see this movie.

In response to the North Korean terror threat, a number of theaters pulled the film, finally prompting Sony to pull it all together.

But fear not. I suspect the movie will go straight to digital, and will likely make a killing.

No pun intended.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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46 Responses to “Sony pulls movie “The Interview” after cyber-attack, terror threats by North Korea”

  1. mereside says:

    Dog eats North Korean. Lets get some perspective please.

  2. hidflect says:

    I’m disappointed your buying the status quo “North Korea did it” line. More critical thinking please!

  3. nicho says:

    Threatening terror means something only if you’re capable of carrying it out. I can threaten to pee in the punchbowl at the White House Christmas party. But it’s just an idiotic threat and the White House would be stupid if they cancelled the party because of it.

  4. Arnie Askinazy says:


  5. BeccaM says:

    This is true.

  6. heimaey says:

    What DO you expect a crazy country to do? What if they made a movie about killing Obama? Do you think things would be all that different? Surely we wouldn’t threaten to bomb innocent civilians but the movie probably would never get made for many many other reasons.

  7. benb says:

    All North Korea has managed to do is put the brightest capitalists in the country (those “Hollywood Liberals”) at work figuring out how to exploit the leaks, the threats, the free advertising… to make more money off the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone—right now–isn’t writing a script for a knock-off or if someone associated with the film isn’t preparing a pitch for a sequel.

  8. 2karmanot says:

    Thank you!

  9. 2karmanot says:

    Exactly so!

  10. I can say what I don’t expect. I don’t expect a nation’s leaders to publish the private medical records of the employees of a movie company, and then threaten to bomb movie theaters across America.

  11. heimaey says:

    Sorry but if you make a movie about killing a head of state then what do you expect?

  12. The_Fixer says:

    The worst part of this is that it’s not an uncommon attitude in the industry. These hackings are regarded as a cost of doing business, and the security measures they do take are mostly for compliance reasons and cost control.

    Which is why these things keep happening repeatedly. After every one of these intrusions, they have found some weak point that could have been fixed and quite probably have stopped it from happening in the first place. Number One problem: known vulnerabilities in software that could have been patched. As in, the patch was out there, they just didn’t bother installing it.

    It’s a corporate culture thing. As long as there’s big money involved, it won’t go away soon.

  13. MoonDragon says:

    As usual, intimidation and threats, are more effective than actual torture. Did someone say wusses? Even wusses stand up until the first actual wedgie.

  14. dcinsider says:

    Sony is pathetic and the theater owners are cowards. No excuse for this behavior. Post-9/11 BS by cowards. Makes me ill.

  15. UncleBucky says:

    How does the film end? ;o)

  16. Indigo says:

    And the loss of Sony’s credibility for the coming decade.

  17. The_Fixer says:

    This is from an April 6, 2007 story at

    For that reason, how companies protect private data has
    become a risk-based business decision, says Sony’s
    Spaltro. Sony processes about 5 million credit card
    transactions a month, mostly associated with its PlayStation
    consoles and the massively multiplayer online games it sells.
    Although Spaltro declines to talk about Sony’s security
    practices, he says that while Sony Online Entertainment is
    fully compliant, every company weighs the cost of protecting
    personal data with the cost of what it would take to notify
    customers if a breach occurred. Spaltro offers a hypothetical
    example of a company that relies on legacy systems to store and
    manage credit card transactions for its customers. The cost to
    harden the legacy database against a possible intrusion could
    come to $10 million, he says. The cost to notify customers in
    case of a breach might be $1 million. With those figures, says
    Spaltro, “it’s a valid business decision to accept
    the risk” of a security breach. “I will not invest
    $10 million to avoid a possible $1 million loss,” he

    So basically, this is all a dollars-and-cents decision, never mind the personal pain and cost that your employees and customers may have to endure.

  18. Indigo says:

    Straight to digital, on to Netflix, stream it at your leisure. NBD [no big deal]

  19. TheOriginalLiz says:

    Well, sh*t, I’d believe the drunk on the corner more than I believe Fox.

  20. Indigo says:

    It’s good to have work. :-)

  21. Indigo says:

    That’s where I’m coming from. It isn’t even close to ‘Duck Soup,’ the funniest movie made by accident ever.

  22. Indigo says:

    Oh, did he now? Another candidate for the Darwin Award. When will they learn, cyber-world is real.

  23. BillFromDover says:

    And the required tools in the Cheney tool box?

  24. Houndentenor says:

    I’m not going to claim that Rogan is some sort of auteur, but quite a few of his films have been good for a laugh. (Superbad, in particular) I usually wait for them to come out on video, but he’s hardly the worst thing in movies today.

    Last week Rogan was on the Daily Show and he seemed out of his element discussing what at the time was just some minor controversy. Now that the whole thing has been pulled this seems like a lot more than a publicity stunt. I’m pretty cynical but this is way too far for such a thing.

  25. Houndentenor says:

    And Japan (Sony) and several other countries with investors in movie theaters, shopping malls, etc. We are not in this alone and maybe we should all stop pretending that we are. I have to say the plot of this movie, absurd as it might have been (this is Seth Rogan, after all) is started to sound like a good idea. The CIA killed a lot worse foreign leaders than Kim Jung whatever.

  26. Houndentenor says:

    Well it wasn’t just Americans. Some of the theater chains are foreign owned as is Sony, so it’s a global problem of giving in to terrorist threats, in this case one that might not even be credible. Look for more crap like this because once you cave you’ve given carte blanche to every asshole who thinks they can stop you from mocking their sacred cows.

  27. BillFromDover says:

    Face it… we’re a bunch of wusses.

    Is this what conservatives refer to as American exceptionalism?

    BTW, how can a shit-spot nation like North Korea bring the UfuckinSofA to its collective knees since the republicans made overwhelming gains in the last election?

  28. Apparently, the cyber attack was huge, and pretty vile. For all we know, the government may have warned Sony that the threats were real.

  29. mark_in_toronto says:

    An idle threat from some anonymous hackers brings a major entertainment mega-company to it’s knees? The terrorists are winning and America is running scared.

    Interesting that the mere thought of cinemas being targeted scared the shit out of everybody. Gee . . . I wonder why?
    Better go out and buy a gun. That’ll make you feel much better.

  30. Rational says:

    Sony should just dump this movie onto the web for one and all.
    Loses money but the group threatening them loses since more people will see it.

  31. The_Fixer says:

    A couple of years ago, Sony’s Chief Information Officer said something to the effect that he would not spend a million dollars in security enhancements if an attacker only took $10,000 worth of data. That was a remarkably stupid thing to say; identity theft and extortion via computer hacking is not a new thing. It’s been going on for quite some time. Not to mention the theft of information that could compromise a company’s competitive position.

    It was tone-deaf to the extreme – not worrying about Social Security numbers being stolen is a slap in the face to every one of your employees and customers.

    This CIO should have been fired immediately after saying that. Sony management deserves to shoulder some of the blame for this happening, they could have fired him and hired a decent CIO instead. But, they didn’t.

    I hope he is walking the pavement looking for a job right now. He’s not smart enough or wise enough to have that job.

  32. BeccaM says:

    I’m afraid not. My work week just went to hell and one of my clients is asking me if I’m willing to work over the holidays. I am, in fact, working this evening…

  33. Do I sense a post brewing in Miss Becca’s head? ;-)

  34. Threatening acts of terror goes beyond hacking.

  35. Drew2u says:

    I found Dinosaur 13 to be a very fascinating documentary although the overall anti-government sentiment for – essentially no reason, the same as Clyven Bundy – to be very disturbing.
    I was all for Sue to stay at the Black Hills Institute way back when (I was, like, ten), but after watching that, I changed my mind.

  36. Drew2u says:

    Oh, it’s by far a terrible, terrible movie: It’s a James Franco / Seth Rogen C-minus college project movie; like the rest of them.
    Seeing the movie would let them win, not seeing it would let North Korea win, it’s a lose-lose situation.

  37. Drew2u says:

    …and Netflix gave in to Comcast’s extortion. >_>

  38. nicho says:

    Well, by that standard, the US has already declared war on a lot of countries. We’ve been hacking for years.

  39. jm2 says:

    if, in fact, it is proven that North Korea actually did the hacking, is it not a declaration of war on the U.S.? North Korea is more than a rogue nation; it’s incredibly unstable on many levels, including sanity. also, i’m wondering if Anonymous is going to react & how!

  40. Max_1 says:

    Good thing President Bush allowed N. Korea to develop nukes while he was chasing imaginary WMD’s in Iraq… YES???

  41. BeccaM says:

    This is how terrorism works, boys and girls, and shame on Sony for giving in to it.

  42. nicho says:

    The question is why Sony had such a crappy IT security stance. It couldn’t be that they’re greedy and that the executives were only interested in banging aspiring actresses (or actors), could it?

  43. pliny says:

    It’s not North Korea. Hacking groups have been dropping fake North Korean and Chinese evidence for a while now to cover their tracks.

  44. pricknick says:

    But why pull the movie John?
    Our government (and obviously sony) love the fear card. Or maybe sony is trying to gin up support for what likely is a lousy movie.

  45. I do. Far more than I believe Fox.

  46. pricknick says:

    But as far as believing anything that cnn broadcasts………pfffft.

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