Wow. In what might be the first instance of almost anything thwarting the power of Hollywood’s Movie Marketing Muscle, Sony Pictures it seems, has decided to cancel its blockbuster New York premiere of the new Seth Rogen/James Franco film “The Interview”, due to threats of a “9/11 style” terrorist attack by the group calling themselves Guardians Of Peace.
I am sure Sony had marketing back-up plans for rain, for snow, for actors getting sick, and maybe even civil unrest in the nearby streets. But terrorism shutting down a critical cog in the Marketing Movie-Launch Machine? I repeat, wow.
The group also claims responsibility for the Sony hacking scandal, in response to their own perceived offense at the film’s plot (Rogen and Franco travel to North Korea to assassinate Kim Jong Un) saying (and I quote) “… We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001.” Well, it possible sounds like it was written by a North Korean, but who knows?
Obviously Sony and some theater chains are exercising an over-abundance of caution. I can’t imagine any company ignoring a threat of violence against its customers, no matter how much money has been invested in the production and marketing of the film. Both actors have also cancelled any promotional appearances as well, and the fall-out from all of this will surely continue into next year. (But as of now, the Department of Homeland Security has stated that there is “no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters.”)
So, will all of the Hollywood Hype go unrewarded? Will the public go see the movie in any theater that has decided to show it? I know I would, because (A) it looks pretty funny, and (B) if I don’t, the terrorists (whoever they are) will win. But still, all that advertising, and PR and… looks like Movie Makers will have to figure out how to troubleshoot for even more eventualities in Marketing Land from now on.