After President Obama publicly shamed Sony for canceling the opening of The Interview, saying the studio “made a mistake” by caving to North Korean cyber-terrorists’ threats (see video below), Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton appeared on CNN to set the record straight. Saying he was “disappointed” by the president’s comments, Lynton said that “the president, the press, and the public are mistaken” about what led to the decision to suspend the film’s premiere.
Speaking with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Friday, Lynton rejected the idea that Sony Entertainment “caved” to cyber-terrorist pressure and suggested that a theater run for The Interview was still a possibility, which Sony then reinforced by a follow-up statement which said, “It is still our hope that anyone who wants to see this movie will get the opportunity to do so.”
Here’s an excerpt from the exchange (transcript via CNN):
Zakaria: The president says Sony made a mistake in pulling the film. Did you make a mistake?
Lynton: No. I think actually the unfortunate part is, in this instance, the president, the press, and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened. We do not own movie theaters. We can’t determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.
So, to sort of rehearse for a moment the sequence of events, we experienced the worst cyberattack in American history and persevered for three and a half weeks under enormous stress and enormous difficulty. And all with the effort of trying to keep our business up and running and get this movie out into the public.
When it came to the crucial moment when a threat came out from what was called the GOP at the time, threatening audiences who would go to the movie theaters, the movie theaters came to us one-by-one over the course of a very short period of time – we were completely surprised by it – and announced that they would not carry the movie. At that point in time, we had no alternative but to not proceed with the theatrical release on December 25. […] And that’s all we did.
Zakaria: So you have not caved in your view?
Lynton: We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered. And we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.