Sony CEO breaks silence on ‘The Interview’
13 January 2015 by Thomas Utting
Sony’s CEO, Kazuo Hirai, has recently broken his silence over the recent cyber attacks against the company, while attending the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week.
To recap the situation, the attacks began in late November with the aim of preventing Sony from releasing their latest comedy ‘The Interview’. The film stars James Franco and Seth Rogen and involves a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The initial attacks were designed to cripple Sony’s computer systems, but, in a demonstration of its disdain for the film and the lengths they would go to, the hackers later began to leak sensitive information regarding the company and its employees.
On 16th December 2014 the group of hackers who ironically dubbed themselves the “Guardians of Peace” threatened terrorist attacks on the New York premiere, and any other cinema showing the film upon its release. This subsequently led Sony to cancel the theatrical release of the film; however Sony made the decision to release the film in roughly 300 independent cinemas on Christmas Day, as well as online in the US, in response to pressure received from the film industry.
Understandably many people looked to North Korea as the foundation for the “Guardians of Peace” and that is indeed where the FBI allegedly sought to place the blame after their investigation However the North Korean government denied any involvement in the attacks.
Sony’s CEO had previously not spoken publicly about the attacks, until he gave a speech at the electronics tradeshow which took place last week. In his speech, Mr Hirai called the attacks vicious and malicious but affirmed that he was proud of the way the company had resisted the criminal’s efforts. He then went on to stress how important freedom of speech is to Sony, and the entertainment business as a whole.
Sony have reported that they do not believe that they will suffer a significant financial effect as a result of the well publicised attacks. $44 million was spent on producing The Interview and it looks like most of that will be recouped, even if there are not huge profits…. Or positive critical reviews! The limited North American cinematic release certainly didn’t have much impact, netting around $5m due to its small scale, but the digital distribution effort has now made more than $31m. A UK release date has since been confirmed for 6 February and this will further help Sony get back towards their original outlay.
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