Official FBI claims that North Korea was behind the "Sony hack" were debunked today by two leading cyber security firms. More on that later, but first, let’s look at the failure of film itself…
To anyone in media or politics who said this week that it was our “patriotic duty as Americans” to go and see this movie, I hereby banish you to the outer realm of the consensus reality Bardo (in other words, you should be working for the North Korean government, not ruining America).
Despite being hyped and spun with unprecedented faux patriotic fervor, and getting a ton of free publicity from President Obama, Sony Entertainment’s The Interview is officially a flop.
The film was released in 331 independently owned cinemas on Christmas Day, pulling a paltry $1 million in gate receipts, as well as an equally poor showing on the download charts too. The film was a big hit on the "illegal" download front though. According to the blog TorrentFreak, the film was downloaded around 750,000 times as of yesterday (we use the term "illegal" loosely here, because it would a real crime to charge money to see this turkey).
Between Sony, the White House and a highly autistic US media, no other movie in history has been given so much political hype. Unfortunately on this occasion, the steak hasn’t lived up to the sizzle.
The main reason it bombed is the same reason most films bomb – because it’s a really bad film. Reviews have been less than favorable. On the internet’s largest movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes, critic’s scores dropped from 53% before its release, to 47% (and dropping) after its Christmas Day opening - the lowest rating of all major releases. Other sites generally rate it at two and a half stars (Dumb and Dumber To got about the same, so you get the picture).
Critics at the Washington Post said the film “isn’t as edgy as its reputation suggests.” Tomatoes described it as containing “middling (average) laughs,” and paints "stars" Seth Rogen and James Franco as merely, “likable” (rather generous). Reviewers at Screen Rant were a bit tougher on Sony’s marginal effort, describing the film as, “not all that buzz-worthy,” and “a juvenile political fantasy,” which “plays more like a sketch show or sitcom rather than a theatrical film.”
In fact, this brainchild was hatched by the great Hollywood minds behind celluloid masterpieces like Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin and This Is The End - all productions thatwere pitched at the 13-15 year old demographic. In other words, if you want to pay $12 (plus another $10 for nibbles) to see a bad Saturday Night Live sketch on a big screen then The Interview is for you.
Why did Sony go through so much trouble (and money) to push a mediocre cinema production? In 21st century America, the majority of Americans still get their political analysis and history in entertainment form – getting their history from Hollywood’s prestige biopics many of which are fictional, or from TV "news comedy" programs presented by John Stewart or Stephen Colbert. This demographic of news consumers will tell you that they don’t really care about news, and that The Interview is just "entertainment" so it really doesn’t matter whether its fictional or not, because as far as they’re concerned, Kim Jung-Un is a nutty dictator and anything that undermines him is a good thing. This common rationale sounds eerily like many of our US State Department foreign policy briefings. No wonder then, that Sony’s CEO Michael Lynton actually punted The Interview to both the Rand Corporation and the US State Department for approval during the final editing phase this past summer – with both blessing the film’s plot line of the assassination of the North Korean leader. In the end, this was really a western propaganda film about regime change, and one which Washington nation-builders are eager to leak on DVD into North Korea (as mentioned in the Washington Post).
In the end , The Interview, just wasn’t good enough to compete with a number of other better productions released at the same time like Wild, Unbroken, Foxcatcher, Into The Woods, and The Imitation Game - all of which received better reviews and critical acclaim.
The film cost $46 million to make, with the studio and distributors paying an additional $40-50 million to market the production. It may be able to recover its costs over the long run, as curiosity around the publicity stunt is gradually wringed-out over time.
The publicity-driven events also served as a beta run for the studio’s long-term idea of selling its films directly to the public online, cutting out all of the middlemen. Quietly amid last week’s controversy, Sony had launched its own portal for downloading, entitled SeeTheInterview.com, where fans can see the film for $5.99. Similar direct deals were struck with Google Play and YouTube. Figures are not yet available, but studio execs are surely monitoring the numbers closely and will be looking at how best to optimize integrated marketing campaigns in order to coalesce with giant publicity stunts like we saw with The Interview.
It’s Official: Sony Hack was a ‘False Flag’
As 21WIRE predicted last week, Washington’s official conspiracy theory that North Korea was the villain behind the infamous Sony Hack has crumbled.
Today we can confirm that two cyber security firms, Norse Corporation and Cloud Flare, conducted independent investigations into the hack and the results are a stark opposition to the FBI’s highly creative claim that Pyongyang carried out the historic hack. Experts confirmed that the alleged malware used in the cyber attack was in fact leaked years ago and any hacker could have utilized it since.
If you remember, immediately after the hack hit the headlines, North Korea denied it, and smirking US media lambasted them for it. But now it’s abundantly clear that Pyongyang was telling the truth, while every single mainstream US broadcast journalist was parroting a huge lie.
Last week we saw an US President, the US State Department, George Clooney, and every single broadcast media anchor and analyst riffing off of the FBI wild conspiracy about how some nefarious, secretive, SPECTRE-like cyber espionage layer nestled in the bowels of Pyongyang, had unleashed this merciless attack on poor Sony. The alleged North Korean hacking cabal was first referred to by FOX News as “Unit 121,″ and later called “Bureau 121″ by CNN, and this week finally rebranded to the “Reconnaissance General Bureau.” Just like a Hollywood plot itself, it was all invented. Pure fantasy.
It was also reported that the firms’ investigations had uncovered one former Sony Entertainment employee and security officer referred to as “Lena”, who had high level admin access to the company’s IT system, and who has connections to the hacking group, "Guardians of Peace" (#GOP) who were blamed for the cyber attack. This means that the hack is more likely an "inside job," and the motivations could have a redress for any number of grievances including Sony’s company lay-offs and online piracy prosecutions.
The fact that the President himself used this publicity stunt to grandstand on the issue cyber security shows just how shallow the office has become. What a poor actor he is; standing there, soaking the attention and cracking stupid jokes to the press corps, while simultaneously claiming that the Sony hack was "the biggest attack in history" and that North Korea did it. Two massive porky pies, both of which pave the way for his “sweeping internet reforms”. Talk about an Orwellian abuse of power.
Yes, yes. Another round of lies from Hollywood and Washington propaganda spin-meisters.
One big bad publicity stunt for Sony, and one bad propaganda exercise by Washington DC.
Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire.