The Corner

Hollywood’s Hari-Kari

Charlie noted that those theaters planning to screen Team America: World Police in lieu of The Interview are out of luck, because Paramount Pictures has apparently pulled the film from release. America’s cinema chains and Sony should be ashamed for pulling The Interview in the first place. But Paramount should just go ahead and commit seppuku, because this is a whole new nadir of cravenness.

Regal/Cinemark/etc., and Sony, could at least cite the threat of violence, the herd of trial lawyers that would stampede to sue if an attack actually occurred (for more on the insanity of that scenario, see the Free Beacon’s Sonny Bunch), and the rest.

But Paramount has preemptively surrendered screening a totally different movie.

One could have argued yesterday that Sony et al. caved to a lunatic, cheese-addicted despot who did not appreciate seeing his pomaded Macklemore hair on fire — but, you know, the movie was about him, no one likes to see their own head exploding onscreen, maybe it was in bad taste, &c.

But Team America: World Police is not about Kim Jong-un, it does not depict a sitting head of state, and the characters are puppets! The point is this: After a staggering, intolerable display of cowardice yesterday, Paramount upped the ante — because there is a categorical difference between manipulating the present because it might be offensive, and whitewashing the past because it’s suddenly offensive now. By this standard, the German government can effectively shut down screenings of Casablanca, right? Putin can scrub half the films made between 1945 and 1989?

If Hollywood wants to give veto power over prospective projects to the Mugatu of the Korean Peninsula, fine. I’ll save money on movie tickets. But if production studios are going to start retroactively self-flagellating to mollify the dudgeon of a cross-dressing gulag oberkapo, let’s cut our losses and draw the curtain on “free” society.​

And Paramount and the rest can set up in Pyongyang. Fair warning: The craft service will be limited.

Ian Tuttle — Ian Tuttle is the former Thomas L. Rhodes Journalism Fellow at the National Review Institute.

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