Sony Pictures have today announced that their political comedy motion picture The Interview is no longer scheduled for a release in UK or international cinemas. Starring James Franco and Seth Rogen as two government agents tasked with ending the tyrannical reign of a fictitious rendition of the incumbent North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, the movie (which was scheduled for a Stateside box office launch on Christmas Day)'s commercial future is now uncertain to say the very least, since the studio were forced to cancel its upcoming screenings as a result of domestic cinema chains axing showings themselves, the recent hacking of their own network (which in itself purportedly occurred due to the international controversy surrounding the project in question) as well as threats made by the culprits of the technological disaster towards the US public in the event that they should attend its première.
Thankfully, developments such as these are relatively few and far between within the realms of the film industry nowadays, to the extent that The Interview being pulled comes as something of a shock given that productions such as Team America: World Police, The Dictator and - the most factually accurate instalment of the trio by far - Zero Dark Thirty were completed and screened across the globe with little in the way of hassle on this scale. We can't deny, however, how tragic it must seem for all of those involved with this seemingly-cursed entertainment product to have the fruits of their labour turn rotten just moments before critics and mainstream viewers alike had the chance to sample them for themselves. It's reassuring if nothing else to hear (via BBC News) that America's National Security Council "take very seriously any attempts to limit artists' freedom of speech or of expression" and that "a range of options" are therefore being weighed up in light of this troubling occurrence, but at the same time, we're absolutely fascinated to see whether or not Sony - who are currently keeping schtum with regards to their subsequent plans for the title - opt for a DVD / Blu-Ray launch in the near future or even upload it to Netflix or the like instead, particularly as they've every right to do so (we'd hope to be some of their strongest proponents in this regard were such an option to be evaluated, in fact, since as bloggers, we can't stress enough our empathy towards the Interview team's desire to be able to express themselves openly without any non-domestic censorship or intervention), but at the same time, it's worth bearing in mind that the studio would be equally justified if they chose to substantially protect both their employees and thereby uphold US peace and order as a whole by continuing to hold their metaphorical cards close to their metaphorical chests for the time being.
Keep it locked at On-Screen in the coming days for all of the latest details regarding the immediate implications these events will have for the domestic (and global) launch (or lack thereof) of The Interview as well as the potential responses they might resultantly elicit from the National Security Council.