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Sony pulls ‘The Interview’ after threats of violence at theaters

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: A sign outside of Sony's New York headquarters is viewed on April 10, 2012 in New York City. Sony, the Japanese electronics company, has more than doubled its projected net loss for the past financial year to ´520 billion, the equivalent to $6.4 billion, its worst loss ever.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
A sign outside of Sony's New York headquarters is viewed on April 10, 2012 in New York City.

Sony Pictures in Culver City has pulled the release of its comedy "The Interview."

Sony Pictures in Culver City has pulled the release of its comedy "The Interview." The action came a day after an online threat of violence against moviegoers and theaters where "The Interview" would be shown. The movie satirizes North Korea's Kim Jong Un and American media.  

The FBI has reportedly linked the massive Sony hack to people working on behalf of the North Korean government. Sony seemed to be in a real no-win position; if they had pulled the plug before deferring to theaters, they would have been criticized for bowing to an online threat.

On the other hand, theater owners were in an equally bad spot. They had to risk moviegoers not showing up to multiplexes out of safety concerns, not just audiences for “The Interview,” but audiences for any movie shown in the same multiplex. Furthermore, if an attack were to be carried out at a theater showing the movie, the exhibitor would’ve been sued for not providing enough security given the online threat. 

What liability might theaters and Sony have if the threat had inspired an attack? What do you think was the studio's best option? What's the backlash against Sony's move?

Guest:

Dominic Patten, Legal Editor and chief TV critic at the entertainment news site, Deadline

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