Sony Pictures Hack Hits a Theater Near You
December 17, 2014
December 17, 2014
The hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment is unprecedented in the history of corporate crises.
The damage has been far-reaching for Sony. Internal emails made public by the hackers illustrate racist messages sent by top leadership. Angelina Jolie was not pleased to see Amy Pascal, a Sony executive who called Jolie a “spoiled brat,” creating a million tabloid headlines. Stars taking great joy in besting other stars have spawned countless blog posts. It’s even been revealed that Alex Trebek tried to quit Jeopardy!
None of those headlines are good, and paint Hollywood in a negative light. But now the threat is affecting your neighborhood movie theater.
The hackers behind the Sony cyberattack are widely thought to be associated with the North Korean government, which is angry about the upcoming movie The Interview. The plot of the movie revolves around two men tasked with killing dictator Kim Jong-un. Gawker has a preview of the death scene, and emails between one of the film’s stars discussing the finer points of his graphic (fictional) end.
Yesterday, the hackers issued a warning to those who would see the movie, reminding them to “remember 9/11.” While federal officials say there is no credible threat, Sony has canceled the New York premiere of the film, which is set to open nationwide on Christmas. Theater chains around the country aren’t taking chances and are pulling the film from their locations.
It’s hard to blame theater owners. Christmas Day is a big day for cinemas, which are struggling in the age of Netflix and OnDemand. Will families decide to stay home and stream a movie if they’re worried about an act of terrorism at their local theater? And, even if there’s no physical violence, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the hackers could steal information from chains—including customer’s financial information.
It will be interesting to see how theaters handle their involvement in Sony’s crisis. Communication with theater-goers will be paramount—whether they choose to show The Interview or not.