The results of a poll published Monday indicate that among Americans who have an opinion on the matter, more are opposed to Sony Pictures’ decision to cancel the release of The Interview than in favor of it.
Following a threat of violence from hackers if the movie’s release went ahead as scheduled on Christmas Day, theaters across the country canceled screenings. Sony followed up last Wednesday by saying it had “no further release plans” for the film, a Seth Rogen comedy about a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
A poll carried out by Reuters and Ipsos showed that 47 percent of respondents were against Sony’s decision to cancel its release, while 29 percent said they agreed. The remaining 24 percent said they had no opinion on the subject. The poll involved 1,246 U.S. citizens and took place between December 18 and 22.
The content of the movie provoked a cyberattack on Sony toward the end of last month by a group calling itself ‘Guardians of Peace.’ The hackers stole masses of sensitive data – including unreleased movies and emails between executives and others in the movie business – and have since posted much of it online.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that the majority of respondents agree with President Obama, who last week described Sony’s decision to pull the movie as “a mistake.”
“We can not have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship in the United States, because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like,” Obama said. “That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about.”
Following the president’s comments, which came alongside criticism from a number of well-known names in the movie business, the studio appeared to backtrack over its “no further release plans” comment, with Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton claiming that “the president, the press and the public are mistaken as to what actually happened.” He added, “We do not own movie theaters. We cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters.”
In a further sign that the studio was shifting its position, a Sony spokesperson said over the weekend that it was “exploring options” for the release of The Interview.