SNS Special Alert: Is Sony or China the real Censor?

cyber securityBy: Mark Anderson

When Dalian Wanda, China’s largest commercial real estate and entertainment firm, bought the US’ second-largest theater chain, AMC, a few years ago, I wondered what the result would be.

Already, we had started to see the effects of China’s desire to move its censorship efforts offshore and into the US film industry, with the increase in various levels of pandering to Chinese censors by US studios in an effort to get Chinese domestic distribution. Double endings, Chinese heros, Chinese settings, and even Chinese script approval, all became part of the new economics of making more money on blockbuster films.

This week, as Sony wrestled with how to manage the damage from North Korea’s hack of its networks, it waited for theater chains to ring in. According to the LA times, Regal decided not to cancel, but to delay showing The Interview, a comedy based on “taking out” Kim Jung Un.

And then AMC announced it would pull all of its US theaters out of distribution for the film. It was AFTER AMC’s announcement that Sony decided to pull not just the single Christmas day showing, but the entire distribution of the film.

Could Sony have launched the film in defiance of AMC’s pullout? I seriously doubt it.

Result: For all intents and purposes, it appears that China censored the American film offerings this season, and not Sony.

For some reason, all of the press seems to have missed this story to date.