Just ask Carmike Cinemas, who were the first to fold under the pressure of terror threats on Tuesday. When the so-called "Guardians of Peace" threatened September 11-style attacks on any theaters that dared to show THE INTERVIEW, Carmike traded freedom for safety, essentially endorsing the power of terrorism.
Regal Entertainment liked the idea of terrorism so much that they, too, decided not to show the movie. Within hours, America's top theater chains had come to the consensus that they'd rather have faceless hackers decide what they can show, and when they can show it. It was a chain of events that moved so quickly that even bloggers struggled to keep up: Before all of the dominoes had finished toppling, the besieged Sony Pictures decided to pull the movie entirely.
Here's the text of the threat:
WarningI don't especially care about the content of THE INTERVIEW. It's the kind of movie I might watch on Netflix on a lazy Sunday, and it wouldn't hurt my feelings if I never see it ... as long as its my choice. But that's not what's at issue here. As with "The Fappening," it seems that individuals are valuing the thrill of voyeurism over their own privacy. As with Carmike Cinemas (and I'm only singling them out for being the first to flinch) there's a sense that any battle involving Internet privacy has already been lost. Had armed burglars broken into the home of Jennifer Lawrence, stolen her property and posted her personal photos on the Internet, people would probably be a lot more enraged. The same goes for Sony, which has been the victim of a criminal raid more thorough than anything seen in the DIE HARD movies.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
And nobody seems to care. "Forget it, Jake. It's the Internet."
The decision to kill the release on a movie is going to have consequences for years to come. We're about to find out what happens when we let anonymous sociopaths dictate the terms of our constitutional, freedoms. When Mitt Romney becomes the voice of reason in any crisis, we're truly through the looking glass.
.@SonyPictures don’t cave, fight: release @TheInterview free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight #Ebola.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) December 18, 2014