The hackers, who have been shocking the public with piles of stolen Sony documents, evidently don't want the sordid catfights, bloated budgets or seemingly sexist discrepancies in salaries that the leaks have revealed to detract from their mission to shut down the Seth Rogen and James Franco film, The Interview.
In a message released earlier today, the hackers said that "those who seek fun in terror" should be doomed to a bitter fate and that "soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made." They then go on to threaten that, as a result of the movie's release, the world will "be full of fear" from an attack reminiscent of 9/11.
The hackers, who call themselves the Guardians of Peace, also warn that anyone even living near a theater showing the film is in danger and should consider staying away from their homes (as well as theaters) on Dec. 25, when the film is released.
Although officials have said that there is currently "no credible sign" of an active plot on movie theaters, the threat is unsettling enough that it will surely discourage cautious audiences from spending their holiday dollars at the theater — this writer included! The threat, intended to hurt Sony, could deliver a low blow to every studio's bottom line this Christmas.
So far, authorities have been unable to verify where the hackers are from, although some believe the group's hatred of the film can only stem from North Korean patriotism. North Korea has denied involvement in the attacks, while calling the hack a "righteous deed."
The attackers also released another series of files named after Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO, Michael Lynton. While their content is as yet unknown, chances are good that their release won't be good for Lynton. Rogen and Franco, meanwhile, have canceled all media appearances for the movie.
Whether you put stock in the Christmas Day threat or not, one thing is certain — no one at Sony could have seen this storm of negative press and terrorist threats coming when The Interview was first pitched. Considering everything that has happened since, we have to wonder if Sony is regretting ever hearing about the film.
The Interview opens in theaters Dec. 25.
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