Yes, both of you. Here’s a new experiment to get me writing a bit again. Sans the time to write up each bit of movie news there is (guys there is so much news every week, it’s nuts) I’m going to try to keep a digest on a weekly basis. Hopefully this works and hopefully you like it. Let’s hop right to it, shall we?
Do you have kids? Have you ever wanted to put on a movie you love but it’s not really for them? Well has Sony got news for you! They’re starting a “Clean Version” initiative which will make them appropriate for kids and (presumably) infuriating to watch.
Your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is coming to theatres for the third first time in under two months which means the marketing is about to kick into high gear. Today we got a new trailer (which is pretty good!) and two new posters (which are pretty awful!). Let’s take a look.
The first WipEout was solely responsible for elevating Sony’s first PlayStation from potentially being just another kiddy toy to a genuinely cool piece of kit. The pulsing soundtrack and revolutionary 3D courses marked the start of many lifelong gaming obsessions, curves and accelerator twitches quickly etching into happy minds.
If any of this is giving you an excited glow, then Dominic Szablewski is your new best friend. Diving into the source files (which he’s documented [here](http://phoboslab.org/log/2015/04/reverse-engineering-wipeout-psx)), he’s put each of the original’s tracks into a format that allows you to experience them in your browser. To sweeten the deal, you can even view the ships and logos designed by The Designers Republic, *and* play the soundtrack underneath.
This might actually qualify as The Best Thing Ever. Relive those glory days [here](http://phoboslab.org/wipeout/).
Sony is releasing The Interview to any theatre willing to show it, which means that any independent chain that wants to can show it. Apparently there are currently over 300 screens booked for Christmas Day in the US, including every location of Alamo Drafthouse (the chain I want most to come to Canada).
I haven’t heard of any locations in Canada as yet, but start asking your local indie theatre now!
The films stars on Twitter:
The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!!
SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters… http://t.co/0KyZQAB6cf
In a move that can only be described as _total bullshit_ Sony has cancelled the release of the forthcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco starring film _The Interview_.
We haven’t been posting much lately so here’s a quick recap.
A few weeks ago Sony Pictures was hacked. Hackers shut down the studios website and started disseminating information around the web regarding the studios plans for future franchises, financial information including executive salaries and such, employee social security numbers, and all kinds of stuff. The group responsible claimed this was all due to the forthcoming release of _The Interview_. North Korea has denied any involvement in this despite being pretty much the only ones who would care about a movie about an attempted assassination of their dear leader but now we know that [they were in fact “centrally involved”](http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/world/asia/us-links-north-korea-to-sony-hacking.html).
A few days ago the hackers upped the ante, threatening actual terror attacks at theatres showing the film. Or at least they say they are the same hackers, it isn’t clear that they are. What is clear is that there’s no credible threat here. Here’s [an expert speaking to ABC News](http://abcnews.go.com/US/sony-hackers-issue-warning-world-full-fear/story?id=27641600):
> “Somebody is playing mind games with [SONY],” said Richard Clarke, cyber security expert and former White House counter-terrorism advisor. “I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it’s coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony’s revenue.”
> Matt Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and like Clarke an ABC News consultant, said the threat sounded more like “hooliganism” than anything really serious.
Sony then left the decision up to the theatre chains as to whether they want to show the film. Pretty much immediately most of them announced they would cancel, or at least delay, the release of the film. Disappointingly this included Canada’s Cineplex:
After losing most of the films screens Sony outright cancelled the release. Here’s their statement:
> In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
> Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale – all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.
The whole situation is bullshit. The theatre chains of North America and Sony Pictures have just told all the hackers and terrorists in the world that they’ll cave in the face of basically no real threat.
I have to wonder who is making the decisions here. Is it lawyers who are worried that if something didd happen the studios/theatre chains would be held responsible? Or do the hackers have something they’re holding over everyone’s head? Or did they really just not realize what kind of movie they were getting when they funded _The Interview_ and now have an excuse not to release it? Or (most likely) are the theatres just afraid that people won’t come to see other films on that day if _The Interview_ is playing?
No matter what it is the answer is not to cancel the release. The answer is the release the film, call the bluff. Don’t let bullies dictate what you do or don’t do. Don’t let the bad guys win because it will only embolden them for next time. In the meantime both the credibility of all five theatre chains and Sony Pictures have been damaged, along with the notion of free speech in Hollywood.
This week has seen the big names in gaming gather in Germany for the annual Gamescom conference. Though not as likely to contain the kind of news bombshells that are a basis of E3, it’s still a good opportunity for the mayor players to add detail to their upcoming rosters, and even throw in a few surprises. Also, once again Nintendo opted to not hold a conference but instead had their most recent games running in a booth to try and maintain the WiiU momentum.
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