Sony Lawyer: 'The Interview' Will be Released22 Dec, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Studio lawyer David Boies tells NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ infamous comedy from Seth Rogen and co-starring James Franco will see the light of day
Home entertainment could save the day for Sony Pictures and its ‘R’-rated buddy comedy The Interview, studio lawyer David Boies told NBC’s “Meet the Press" on Dec. 21.
The movie — about an interview-turned-assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jung-un — remains the apparent cause of a month-long cyber attack on Sony Pictures that has been officially linked by the FBI and DOJ to the communist country.
While Sony yanked the movie from a planned Dec. 25 theatrical release after four of the nation’s largest chains refused to screen it, the studio has never stated that it wouldn’t explore alternative distribution options.
With President Obama Dec. 19 weighing in on the matter, including criticizing Sony for not releasing The Interview on Christmas, Boies cautioned that the studio has had to deal with multiple issues on the release, including alleged threats by the cyber terrorists to moviegoers.
Boies said releasing a movie in any distribution channel always must be done with the consumers’ best interests at the forefront.
“Whether is a legal liability or not, you just have to be very careful with people’s lives,” Boies told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd.
He said Sony, from the start of the controversy, has only delayed — not shuttered — distribution of The Interview.
“Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed. It will be distributed. How it’s going to be distributed I don’t think anybody knows quite yet, but it’s going to be distributed,” Boies said.
File-sharing service BitTorrent Dec. 19 released a statement inviting Sony to distribute the movie on its monetized service — a stretch considering Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has multiple distribution digital and physical options, including DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
The New York Post Dec. 21 suggested The Interview would be offered for free on Sony's Crackle streaming service, a plan that was quickly refuted by other news outlets.
Guardians of Peace, the group allegedly behind the hacking, sent emails to Sony executives warning them against any possible retail release of the movie, including "DVD and piracy."
Regardless, Boies said it is important to remember that the cyber attack it not just a Sony issue, but a national security problem. While praising the FBI for its assistance, the lawyer insisted the federal government has to take the lead in the matter going forward.
Obama said he was concerned about censorship spawned by foreign interests, saying that self-censorship is especially troubling. While The Interview is a satire, he said the development is even more potentially troubling for documentaries or news broadcasts.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator in some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” Obama said.
Boies said it was good to hear the president’s comments that the hack was an unacceptable attempt to censor free speech in the country. He said there appears to be a growing groundswell of support within the country, but added there has to be more than rhetoric going forward.
“Now, we’ve got to have some actions [from the government] following the words,” Boies said.