The supposedly controversial film The Interview is to be shown in the UK after the initial release was marred by terrorist threats in the USA. The film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as a talk show host and producer recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un, has caused an uproar in the states following the decision to remove it from cinemas after a hacking organisation claimed it would bomb cinemas showing it.
Although these “Guardians of Peace” – as they have named themselves – have claimed success after halting the release (most cinema chains pulled it from their schedules in fear) and successfully leaking emails between Sony staff and others (the leaks have led to a wide range of stories including conversations of whether Andrew Garfield will continue as Spiderman). But they have also unwittingly created one of the most successful advertising campaigns for a movie ever. Although the viewing figures are still relatively low (it only made $5million on its cinema release in the US but has made over $25million in its On-Demand release) when it hits UK cinemas on the 6th of February it’s almost guaranteed to be an overnight success.
These ridiculous hackers creating a storm of controversy over this (probably mediocre) film has given studios a massive boost in press coverage and general comment. Op Ed columns and culture pages have been wrangling with the issue of freedom of speech over the safety of viewers for weeks now and in doing so have generated an almost unparalleled interest in this comedy. Consider the success of A Clockwork Orange, Natural Born Killers, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and, of course, The Passion of The Christ. All of these films caused massive controversy on their release and did it marr their box office takings? Almost certainly not. The latter is still the most financially successful film not in the english language and the formers are all considered classics (as well as having made a pretty penny in cinemas). Although the film looks like it will probably be overwhelmingly disappointing (both at its lack of actual controversy and aggressively irritating man-child lead performances) it looks set to follow in the footsteps of these classics.
Although Sony certainly missed a trick by delaying the global release (they would have found an enormously engaged instant market if they had released The Interview on demand globally when the film was originally scheduled to be released) it’s sure to not only spark headlines but encourage droves of people into their local cinema.