Like you, we too have been reading a few Sony email exchanges. They read a little like rubber and glue (what bounces off of me, sticks to you). Well, today we got a lot of finger waving at Sony Pictures from President Barack Obama for his final press conference of 2014. And then we got some, "that's not fair!" responses from Sony.
Let's start at the White House. Take it away Obama:
“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage, threats against some employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns they faced. Having said that, yes I think they made a mistake," Obama said.
“That’s not what America is about…I wish they’d spoken to me first. I would have told them, ‘Do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks’.”
“We can’t start changing our patterns behavior any more than stop going to football game because might be possibility of terrorist attack…Let’s not get into that way of doing business.
"It says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state launch an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco [sic]. I love Seth and I love James, but the notion that that was a threat to them, I think, gives you some sense of the kind of regime we’re talking about here.” (Obama actually pronounced Franco’s last name as “Flacco". The POTUS apparently had football on the brain, considering he just brought up the football stadium comparison, and that "Flacco" is the last name of Baltimore Ravens' Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco.)
Joe Flacco's response:
Welcome to the family, brother. @JamesFrancoTV— Joe Flacco (@TeamFlacco) December 19, 2014
A helpful explanation:
In fairness to Obama, James Franco and Joe Flacco have both had their share of fumbles— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlakeWP) December 19, 2014
A new Twitter account was instantly made:
Thanks for the name drop, Mr. President. It's an honor.— James Flacco (@JamesFlacco) December 19, 2014
But back to Obama, he promised that the US would retaliate in... some mysterious way:
“They caused a lot of damage and we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at a press conference,” he said.
Now, Sony, after announcing that they've pulled The Seth Rogen-James
Flacco Franco starrer indefinitely have been answering a lot of different quesitons.
First, why not skirt the whole theater problem by offering the film on a VOD platform?
Michael Lynton, Sony CEO was on CNN and he had this to say:
"There has not been one major VOD or one major ecommerce site that has said they are willing to step forward and distribute this movie. We don’t have that direct interface with the American public so we need to go through an intermediary to do that."
While Lynton is referring to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, Sony also owns the lesser used streaming platform Crackle, and this could've been a huge get for their own platform.
Steadfast as Sony has been that they've had no options whatsoever, it was revealed today that Sony also rejected a proposal to a limited rollout of The Interview (similar to how a previous controversial Sony film, Zero Dark Thirty, was released in 2012 on a few screens in Los Angeles and New York in December, and expanded in January 2013). A representative for Sony declined to comment, but a studio insider told Variety that The Interview is a broad comedy and would not have worked as a limited release. The film was set to go wide on 3,000 screens.
But while Lynton maintained on CNN that, “We do not own movie theaters, we cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.” The report that a limited strategy was floated, counters Sony's blaming of the vendors.
But what mostly upset Lynton and Sony was Obama saying that they made a mistake. Lynton stated on CNN that Sony "did not cave." Instead, "The president, the press, and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened."
Lynton insists that they did go to the White House months ago, when the first threat over The Interview (after a trailer was released) was public. Sony consulted with the US State Department to assess any potential problems the Kim Jong Un-assination satire could incite.
“We were told there wasn’t a problem, so we continued to proceed,” Lynton said on CNN. “The US government told us there wasn’t a problem.”
But most importantly, Vox declared the Obama Interview presser "the most entertaining Obama press conference in years." And via another press release, Sony maintains that everyone is overreacting in saying they're missing balls, because "the only decision that we have made with respect to release of the film was not to release it on Christmas Day in theaters, after the theater owners declined to show it."
And James Flacco reminds us that there are more important things to worry about:
Alright. Enough about North Korea attacking a Japanese company over American & Canadian potheads. I have to get ready for the Texans.— James Flacco (@JamesFlacco) December 19, 2014