It's a tough time to be Sony CEO Michael Lynton. The business executive, 54, has faced hacks of his company, embarrassing PR blunders, and most recently, the cancellation of the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco's The Interview.
Lynton defended the company's decision to pull the controversial flick in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria on Friday, Dec. 19. The dark comedy about assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was denied its theatrical release after hackers made threats of terrorism.
"We have not caved," Lynton said, despite the cancellation of The Interview's Christmas release. "We have not given in. We have preserved. And we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie."
Sony's decision was met with mixed reactions from fans, critics, and even President Obama after many saw the cancellation as a form of censorship. The hackers, who previously leaked internal emails about the likes of Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio, wrote to the company on Friday, saying it was "very wise to cancel The Interview," and warning against alternative forms of release, writing, "Now we want you never let the movie released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy."
"There are a number of options open to us and we have considered those and are considering them," Lynton continued. "As it stands right now – while there have been a number of suggestions that we go out there and deliver this movie digitally or through VOD, there has not been one major VOD – video on demand distributor – one major e-commerce site that has stepped forward and said they are willing to distribute this movie for us. Again, we don't have that direct interface with the American public so we need to go through an intermediary to do that."
With The Interview in purgatory, Sony is rumored to lose between $75 and $200 million, but Lynton said he doesn't regret the decision to make the risky film.
"I would make the movie again," he said. I think, you know, for the same reasons we made it in the first place. It was a funny comedy. It served as political satire. I think we would have made the movie again. Knowing what I know now, we might have done something slightly differently but I think a lot of events have overtaken us in a way we had no control over."
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