Sony Pulls Korea Film ‘The Interview;’ U.S. Blames Pyongyang for Hack

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Studio Scraps Dec. 25 Debut After Terrorist Threats Prompted Movie Chains to Skip Film.

Sony Pictures canceled its planned release of “The Interview” after hackers threatened violence against theaters that played the film, as U.S. officials concluded that North Korea was behind the broad cyberattack on the company.

Officials are still gathering evidence and are trying to build a clearer picture of who directed the hacking and how, according to people familiar with the investigation, but the focus on North Korea elevates the issue from a question of corporate security to national security.

The Sony Corp. studio’s 11th-hour decision, unprecedented in the modern movie business, came after the nation’s largest theater chains all said they wouldn’t play the raunchy Seth Rogen farce set in North Korea. Sony executives briefly considered alternative options, including releasing it only via video-on-demand or on television, said a person at the studio. As of Wednesday evening, Sony Pictures had “no further release plans for the film,” said a spokesman.

Comcast Corp. , the nation’s largest cable provider, doesn’t want to offer the movie on-demand due to its political sensitivity, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking.

The reverberations will carry far beyond Hollywood, online security experts warned, saying that the episode could set a disturbing precedent. “This is now a case study that is signaling to attackers that you can get all that you want and even more,” said Peter Singer, a cybersecurity strategist and senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

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