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Between George Clooney trying to rally a petition to President Obama criticizing the studio’s decision, Sony has caused some serious uproar in deciding to pull The Interview from theaters. But, the uproar and especially the president’s comments have left Sony surprised. And now, Sony has issued a statement that claims The Interview is not gone for good, and there still will be opportunity for it to be seen.
Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton began voicing his opinions after President Obama’s statement yesterday calling out Sony’s decision as a mistake. So what is one to do when the President of the United States says you are wrong? Change your story. So Sony released a statement claiming that they are and always will be committed to the First Amendment and that free expression should never be suppressed. The statement explained that this decision not to move forward on The Interview’s release was only because theaters did not want to screen the film—it was their decision. But, Sony says not to worry, because the statement also adds the possibility of future release. It reads:
"Let us be clear — 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. Without theaters, we could not release it in the theaters on Christmas Day. We had no choice.
This move may have only occurred because of the president’s bold stance on the subject, which insists that Sony should not have felt intimidated by the cyber attacks and that they should have come to him first. But according to Deadline, in an excerpt from a CNN interview taped Friday after the event, Lynton insists that he had spoken with White House advisors before the president's speech stating:
"I did reach out. We definitely spoke to a senior adviser in the White House to talk about the situation. The White House was certainly aware of the situation."
Lynton also insists that this was not an act of cowardice, he claims that Sony "did not capitulate", it is all a misunderstanding. Lynton believes the media, press, public, and even the president are mistaken on what actually happened. He claims that the movie theaters just would not play the film. Sony has no control over those theaters, and after one by one they started dropping out, the only alternative was to not proceed with the theatrical release.
Lynton claims that by choosing to do this, they were not caving to the cyber threats, but persevering, and now they can try and move forward with other viewing options. Lynton told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria:
"There are a number of options open to us, and we have considered those and are considering them. As it stands right now, while there have been a number of suggestions that we go out there and deliver this movie digitally or through VOD, there has not been one major VOD — video-on-demand distributor — one major e-commerce site that has stepped forward and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us. Again, we don't have that direct interface with the American public, so we need to go through an intermediary to do that."
So until someone steps up to the plate to stream the film, we’ll have to wait to see the James Franco and Seth Rogen take on Kim Jong-un. And that may be some time considering this whole mess was created by cyber attacks and it will be difficult to find a site willing to take the risk.