Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Axis of Lies gets want it wanted

Surprise, surprise! The Axis of Lies - Hollywood and Washington DC have got what they want - a a bit of a free commercial for a trashy movie that was bound to be a flop (now EVERYBODY will be flocking to see it)

This could have been regarded as something straight out of the Onion if it wasn't so deadly serious.

---SMR


"Only in the US, it is possible for President to openly threaten another government and country over a movie, that is, a comedy and hacking into emails of some Hollywood executives.

"And I am leaving aside the fact that the accusations against North Korea for the mischief against the comedy and the CEO's emails are not even proven.

"George W. Bush went to war against Iraq (and the war has not ended yet) over false claims pertaining to weapons of mass destruction. Obama threatens with hostile action ... over false claims ... pertaining to "sabotaging" a US comedy?"

---Vladimir Suchan


Sony’s ‘The Interview’ Will Come to Some Theaters After All


Sony Pictures said on Tuesday that it had secured a limited theatrical release for “The Interview” on Christmas Day.



NYT,
23 December, 2014


We have never given up,” Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Entertainment, said in a statement. He added that in addition to the limited theatrical release, “We are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”

Last week, about 80 percent of the theaters in the United States and Canada refused to show “The Interview” in the face of a terror threat. But over the last day Sony reached out to theater owners again, asking if they would rebook the film.


One person briefed on the effort said on Tuesday that it appeared unlikely that big chains like Regal or AMC would come on board but that Sony was likely to patch together distribution for the film in 200 to 300 smaller theaters. Already some theaters, like the Alamo Drafthouse chain, based in Austin, and the Plaza Theater in Atlanta have said they would show the film.

Sony has authorized screenings of ‘The Interview’ on Christmas Day,” Tim League, the chief executive of the 30-theater Alamo chain, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday morning. Mr. League did not immediately respond to a query.

Representatives of the four largest theater chains in the United States either declined to comment or had no immediate comment. The people who were briefed on Sony’s effort insisted on anonymity because the negotiations over the film’s release were continuing.

Even a 300-theater run would be largely symbolic in financial terms. Sony had planned to release “The Interview” on 2,000 to 3,000 screens in North America.

A new facet of Sony’s discussions with theater owners is any simultaneous video-on-demand effort. Theaters, worried about the possible impact on ticket sales, remain adamant about refusing to open their doors to any film that is showing or about to show elsewhere, according to people briefed on the discussions. Studios typically give theaters a monthslong exclusive window to play new movies.

It remained unclear, however, whether any on-demand service would take “The Interview.” According to people briefed on the matter, Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a particular technology partner but no deal had materialized. Sony had particularly hoped for a partnership with Apple.

A release plan would end a mad scramble on the part of Sony to find a way to get “The Interview” seen and begin a new period of disquiet for the studio and its partners. The hacker group that digitally ransacked Sony beginning late last month, and that threatened theaters with violence if they played it, also warned that the assault would continue if alternate distribution plans were made.

The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, is an R-rated comedy about the assassination of the North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un. The F.B.I. has publicly identified North Korea as “centrally involved” with the attack on Sony.

The Interview” had been scheduled for release on Christmas Day. But when hackers on Dec. 16 warned of 9/11-scale violence if the film were shown, multiplex owners canceled their bookings in the face of pressure from their lawyers, shopping mall landlords and even Sony competitors, which were worried about their own films.


Theater owners and government officials have been trying to assess the threat’s credibility. One person briefed on the exhibitors’ deliberations said law enforcement officials had become less inclined over the last few days to see the threat as serious.

Still, people briefed on the deliberations said theaters showing the film might take unusual security measures, perhaps by banning backpacks or packages or posting signs advising customers of added risk.

Sony at first said it was shelving “The Interview” completely but quickly decided to look for a mainstream cable, satellite or online movie distributor to adopt the film. Worried about the repercussions of allowing a foreign power to censor American artistic expression, a wide range of people — President Obama, Salman Rushdie, numerous Hollywood stars — publicly pressured Sony to find an alternative.

But finding a new delivery route has been complicated.

Satellite operators, cable systems and online platforms worried that they would become hacking targets if they picked up “The Interview.”

Sony did have options. One was BitTorrent, an online file-sharing service that has in the past been criticized by Hollywood for providing software that is misused by digital pirates. BitTorrent also offers a pay-based sharing mechanism that makes legitimate entertainment sales. OwnZones, a three-year-old paid-distribution platform, also offered Sony the use of its service. Sony rejected those offers in favor of a partnership with an established hub.

The studio early on ruled out its own video site, Crackle. That streaming service is free, and Sony had a contractual financial obligation to various profit participants in “The Interview” to exhaust all paid options, according to a person briefed on the matter. A spokesman for LStar Capital, which helped finance “The Interview,” which cost $44 million to make, declined to comment.



Worth watching if you haven't already - from a few days ago.

Axis Of Lies: Obama, North Korea & Australian Terror Attack Decoded with Patrick Henningsen





The Australian hostage situation in Sydney and unusual circumstances around Sheikh Monis’ connections to the Iranian and Australian government, plus the possibility of him being a patsy to enact more anti-terror legislation in Australia is discussed. We also talk about the Sony hack, and the US government’s pinning the blame on the North Korean government in spite of Kim Jong Un not taking responsibility for the act. Possible motives for cancelling the release of the film, and the free speech mess that has been raised by the scandal are explored with Patrick Henningsen in this Buzzsaw interview, hosted by Sean Stone.

GUEST BIO:

Patrick Henningsen is a geopolitical analyst and founder of 21stCenturyWire.com. A graduate Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CA, he was working as a graphic artist, communications and PR consultant before he became active as an artist and co-founder of an international art movement, Chalk4Peace, advocating for the peace in the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003. Later he began writing as an independent blogger in 2005, and has since produced an impressive range of work as both a writer and documentary filmmaker, and news correspondent on the ground covering events in the US, Europe and Middle East. Patrick has worked up close on a number of controversial stories including the Syrian Civil War (Beirut 2013) UN's Copenhagen Climate Summit (2009), Cyprus banking collapse (2013), G8 London protests (2009), Operation Fast and Furious (2012), the Obama 'Birther' Scandal (2012), the 'War on Terror' and location work in the Middle East (2008-2013). Patrick is recognised by audiences for his ability to relate and contextualise current events within trends and epochs, and to demystify complex systems in a way that makes sense to viewers and readers, as well as applying 'game theory' as a tool to understand international geopolitics. 

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