Paramount won’t let theaters show ‘Team America’ in lieu of ‘The Interview’

Team America

This Sony hack business is so bad that Paramount decided they don’t want any part of it. Not at all. Turn the other way, North Korean hackers. After The Interview got pulled from theaters, some theaters opted to screen Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America: World Police instead. That 2004 movie featured a Kim Jong-il death scene, in which he was impaled. Those plans are over.

Everything hit the fan over The Interview‘s Kim Jong-un’s face-melting, head exploding scene, so it was a wise move not to antagonize the hackers further. Jeremy Smith from Ain’t It Cool broke the news that Paramount shut down existing Team America shows, and the studio nixed plans for all nationwide theaters who wanted to do the same. Capitol Theaters said their jig is off, and Alamo Drafthouse confirmed cancellationsdue to to circumstances beyond our control.” People are outraged. Both Sony and Paramount are in a difficult position. If they aired the movies and a theater was attacked, they’d be accused of pursuing the almighty dollar. Since they decided to play it safe, they’re being accused of cowardice.

One very interesting addendum: The Daily Beast uncovered some exclusive emails that say Sony executives picked Kim Jong-un as their film’s evil villain. They “didn’t take the threat from North Korea seriously, and that a CIA agent and a former Hillary Clinton aide looked at the film’s script. The screenwriters were fully prepared to use a fictitious name for the film’s dictator, but Sony execs told them to go with Kim Jong-un. For real.

Of course this is a real bummer. There’s the issue of letting terrorist threats quash free speech, but maybe I’m just too old and feel like safety is more important than showing Seth Rogen and James Franco’s latest display of bro-dom. If you’re curious, Vulture summarized The Interview‘s most upsetting moments. The Kim Jong-un death scene has also been floating around on YouTube, if you can still find it.

Hey … I forgot “George Clooney” was in Team America! Maybe that’s why the real George thinks he knows everything about this situation.

George Clooney

Team America

Movie stills courtesy of Paramount; photos courtesy of WENN

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95 Responses to “Paramount won’t let theaters show ‘Team America’ in lieu of ‘The Interview’”

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  1. Green Is Good says:

    So are the studios and movie chains going to cancel ALL Christmas Day movie openings? That’s the slippery slope here.

  2. Loopy says:

    I wonder if other studios are quaking in their shoes in case their emails get leaked, it would interesting to see what is said behind closed doors in the whole of hollywood.

  3. The Other Katherine says:

    What an absurdly cowardly society we have become.

    I do have to wonder if Paramount has some OUTRAGEOUSLY scandalous internal e-mails that NK-affiliated hackers are threatening to release.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      P.S. I’m old too, and I believe liberty is vastly more important than safety. Allowing terrorists to dictate your culture is a slippery slope, although unfortunately one we seem to be sliding down on a jet-propelled sled. I’d rather go about my life ignoring terrorist demands but at increased risk of being blown up, than have some infinitesimal decrease in my risk of dying at the hands of terrorists due to voluntarily giving up various freedoms. As Ben Franklin wrote, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Shame on Paramount.

      • wolfpup says:

        Sony did not consult with the government. President Obama stated on national news, that there was no credible threat; and enjoy the movies on Christmas (“enjoy”, he said). This shutdown, was a decision that averted responses to Sony internal email content. If the American government warned our citizens, about this issue, we could call it a credible threat, but as it stands, this is one big brouhaha, that has shown the world, North Korea can flusterbate all of America. This is all Sony’s doing – has anyone heard our government saying *anything* about fear? Paramount must be friends with Sony – I wonder what their emails say – what are they trying to hide? Why are these industries sticking together? That is the real question – they didn’t consulted with the White House. These studios are making national security decisions on their own, and have frightened America. I do not believe that President Obama would do *anything* that would put lives in danger. Good Job, Sony!!!

      • MrsBPitt says:

        @The Other Katherine – I agree…where does it end. Don’t read ” that” book or we will blow up libraries. Don’t teach “this” or we will blow up all schools…To give in, on such a stupid issue…the enemy knows that it has us over a barrel.

      • MrsB says:

        Agree with all of you. It makes us look incredibly weak. I somewhat understand Sony not releasing it in theatres because while I doubt N. Korea is a credible threat, you never know what kind of crazy person will use it as an excuse to cause destruction. Nobody wants blood on their hands; however I do NOT understand why they won’t release it online or something.

      • V4Real says:

        Now they have gone too far. How dare they mess with Team America

        But all jokes aside. What’s next; is Russia going to get every movie shut down that portrays Russians as the bad guys. Wil Iraq and Pakistan shut down the studios that portray people from those countries as terrorist. Aww hell is The Terminator going to beam down from the future to destroy all studios who say cyborgs are bad. And don’t get me started on those aliens.

        Yes my comments are silly but so are Sony and Paramount for letting hackers take away their freedom of expression of art.

      • Pandy says:

        Couldn’t have said it any better. Totally agree.

    • theoneandonly says:

      Here’s another way too look at it which has been long known. Institutions like Hollywood have no trouble mocking and attacking pin cushions like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party because there’s no downside and no threat of retaliation. But when they have to confront something in the real world that may, may, be threatening, their ostensible “liberal values (Hollywood’s only value is green – why is that so difficult to see), they fold like worms. Malala has more courage in her eyelash the all the morons of Hollywood combined. And these are the knuckleheads we’ve made rich – that won’t even defend basic classic liberal values?

      • llc says:

        There is plenty of the great of retaliation from far right wing nuts. That said, the Palin family and the tea party are jokjokes and deserve all the crap thrown their way. Stop watching Fox and try getting your news from a respectable source.

      • theoneandonly says:

        First, i’m a liberal; Second, llc I don’t watch a lot of tv news Fox, Cnn, MSNBC are pretty similar, although I will say generally CNN has better guests, third, why would you think I watch FOX from my post, What effective retaliation has come from Palin and her dolts, and yes THE wall street journal and the ny times on any given day have more detailed news than any of these shows have in a month, which are actually just entertainment, As Winston Churchill said, Television talk is meant to be seen and not heard.

    • wolfpup says:

      On Wednesday the president also promised that his administration believe the cyberattack to be ‘very serious.’
      ‘We’re investigating it. We’re taking it seriously. You know, we’ll be vigilant. If we see something that we think is serious and credible, then we’ll alert the public,’ he said in an interview with ABC News.
      ‘But for now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies,’ he added.

    • J-G says:

      It’s still a movie studio that has made this decision. And it’s less the movie studio and more the fact that a bunch of theaters were choosing not to show it.

      And. Sony is a multinational company headquartered in Japan not America.

      I’m not disagreeing that it was not the best decision but I don’t see it as reflecting on America. President said go for it. It’s not taking our liberty away. It was a business decision. I know most people will not see it that way but I really don’t see this as infringing on my liberty.

  4. blue marie says:

    Meh, I’ve got the dvd.. I am kinda pissed though cause all this coverage caused Franco to make a guest appearance in my dreams last night. Damn you hackers!!

  5. Bridget says:

    This pisses me off. I am so disappointed to see Paramount and Sony fold like a cheap lawn chair – because now where does it go? They could have chosen to release VOD or even just release the damn thing on the internet, but I truly cannot believe they’ve completely given in to N Korea.

    • cr says:

      From a liability/insurance standpoint I understand them not releasing in in theaters, in the very, very, very, very tiny chance that something actually happens.
      It’s the not going the VOD/DVD route that perplexes me.
      I think they’re so freaked they’re not thinking at all.

      • Amy says:

        If they release it on VOD they can’t claim a total loss for insurance purposes. This whole thing has cost them major money and reputation, they’re just covering their asses.

      • Bridget says:

        Sony is in complete free fall. If they release it even VOD they may not be able to call it a complete loss, but it would be an incredible opportunity to start turning the narrative around.

      • cr says:

        @Amy: and if I’m their insurance company I’m not just going to write them a check.

  6. missAmina says:

    I’m sorry, but who the heck at Sony decided to green light such a horrendous project as The Interview? That was a huge mistake. So they thought they could get away with making a movie about assassinating an alive and well loved (albeit under brainwash) leader of a country? That is beyond offensive and ridiculous. They’re ridiculing an entire nation in their movie. Kim Jong un is a direct representation of their country so if you offend him you offend the rest of their country. Asian culture is all about respect and this movie is entirely too disrespectful not only to NK’s or SK’s, but to all Asians in general. Based off the previews there were already a lot of asian stereotypes portrayed in the movie. Honestly this is white privilege at its finest. Had they didn’t pull the movie it would’ve set a dangerous precedence, “we are america the greatest nation we can do whatever the hell we please and offend an entire country and you will deal!” Nope.

    • cr says:

      ““we are america the greatest nation we can do whatever the hell we please and offend an entire country and you will deal!” Nope. ”
      I’m pretty sure that that US studios have already released movies that offend entire countries/cultures. And will continue to do so.

      • missAmina says:

        They f**ked with the wrong country this time. Just because the US has a history of putting out offensive material doesn’t mean they should continue to do so WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES!!. Look, I would understand if this were a documentary or some type of film we could learn a thing or two from. But it isn’t. It was done in bad taste and Sony deserves to take this loss as they shouldn’t have greenlifjted it in the first place. Simple as that.

      • Nicole says:

        No. Satire and unpopular thoughts are the most in need of protection. Free speech means all speech.

      • cr says:

        “They f**ked with the wrong country this time. Just because the US has a history of putting out offensive material doesn’t mean they should continue to do so.”

        Nope. And I’ll point out it’s highly unlikely it’s only the US putting out offensive stereotypes.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeeeah…I’m pretty sure the German Nazi propaganda films from the 1930s are far, FAR more offensive than some satire film with a bunch of puppets.

      • FLORC says:

        As an exercise in a university class we were shown propaganda films from all over and different agendas. I remember a nazi film stood out. It was overdubbed in english for and was a narrative voice. I can’t tell you fully how amazed we all were with it. We approved of it! We appreciated the message it had! It was unreal when it was revealed. There was nothing offensive in it.

        There were subtle messages snuck in with a general overview of ideals we can all agree with. It’s sneaky (sneeky?).
        I think if it was World Police vs. The Interview which is more offensive World police would win that. The bed scene alone was pushing it. And releases your bodily waste after death was somehing too.

      • Valois says:

        FLORC, do you remember the film’s name?

    • Bridget says:

      Heaven forbid you satire a dictator.

      And what’s next? No longer acknowledging human rights abuses and oppressive regimes because it might offend someone?

      • missAmina says:

        Say whatever the hell you want about that dictator but why include the countless asian stereotypes in the film? Yall missing the point. It seems ppl think the dictator is the only one it offends. Get real.

      • MsMercury says:

        Franco and Seth couldn’t care less about the people who die of starvation and are beaten and treated badly. NK is an awful place but it feels like they are making fun the NK people. I feel like they made this movie so they could do racist stereotypes and mock the people who live in NK. I don’t care what you say about Kim Jong-un he is awful and I don’t think the movie should have been pulled. But I understand they are worried since the dark night rising shootings.

      • Bridget says:

        Those at valid criticisms of an individual movie, but to say that satire can only be acceptable when done perfectly is ridiculous and is condoning Sony’s choices choices censorship. The quality of the movie is besidethe point – the commenter is saying that it shouldn’t have made because it could offend a dictator.

      • jane16 says:

        Miss Amina, a lot of Asian people worked on making the movie The Interview. They weren’t offended by it, because no one with a brain can stand the dictator of North Korea. All of the Koreans I know hate his guts.

      • jane16 says:

        Ms Mercury, you said “it feels like they are making fun of the NK people.” How would you know if “they” are making fun of the NK people if you have not seen the movie? My impression, from what I have heard and seen of the movie, is that they are making fun of themselves (Rogan & Franco), the CIA, and KJU.

      • Maria says:

        Good for us that no one told Chaplin not to spoof Hitler and if they had, that he didn’t listen.

      • FLORC says:

        From what Seth has said on these types of topics he does care. He cares a lot when it comes to the quality of life of others. And I say that as someone who is not a fan of his. He’s still a decent person who doesn’t take this lightly.
        Franco I can’t say, but i’m fairly sure he’s not indifferent on their suffering.

        And how is he mocking the people of NK? Mocking the dictator sure. Bringing to light the mindwashing for people to follow him? And that a character sees why this dictator is awful. So how is any of that mocking the people of NK? Are they mocking those who collapse in the streets because they’re starving? Those who risk their lives to oppose him and those who only support him to stay alive?
        Do you remember when Kim Jong Il passed? People had to cry. If they showed anything less than uncontrollable sorrow they could be taken in and killed or tortured. I think you’re just way off on making those claims having never even seen the film. And just by Seth and James as they have been I think they’re not that cold.

    • MsMercury says:

      I agree with you. I think Sony messed up from the beginning and this film should not have been made at all. I’m not a fan of pulling it either. But it really isn’t surprising how no one cares about the racism against Asians. The few reviews that were made said they went with 1920s racism against all east asians. It sounds like they didn’t even try to made a good movie or good satire just straight up racist.

    • OriginalTessa says:

      But that’s the point! The whole reason this is so scary is that as entitled bratty FREE Americans, we can make ridiculous satire and not fear for our lives when we do so. Kim Jong-un deserves to have his face melted off in movies and then some. Disrespectful? Pshhh. Why should we care? He’s been threatening to build a bomb and blow us up since he was in diapers and listening to his father. We can’t forfeit our freedoms like this. The fact that this movie was pulled is historic. It’s a turning point. We’re not in the same United States we were born into.

      • missAmina says:

        You’re missing the point. This movie is not disrespectful to only KJU it is disrespectful to all the Asians they stereotyped throughout the movie. Theres more to it then just offending one dictator.

      • OriginalTessa says:

        Satire is often times offensive. I guess I missed the memo where comedy was supposed to be 100% PC.

    • Falkor says:

      Yeah…. you do know Team America happened, right? This is not some unprecedented step in comedy and yet, the world still turns.

      • OriginalTessa says:

        Saddam Hussein was in a homosexual relationship with a guy named Chris in hell on South Park. We do crap like this in America. We do it because we can. Oh wait…

      • missAmina says:

        Ok? So people are only allowed to be offended once? if I’m not offended by the first wrong action against me I am not allowed to be offended by the second or third or fourth wrong action towards me? That’s what I’m getting from your response.

      • OriginalTessa says:

        missAmina, of course you are allowed to be offended, people are also ALLOWED to offend you. We as a society are losing a basic freedom here. We’re being censored. Satire is meant to be offensive. If they’ve offended you, they’ve succeeded. That’s the point. That’s the whole stinkin point.

      • Falkor says:

        You’re allowed to be offended and I’m allowed to laugh at you being offended and offend you some more.

    • Anony says:

      Excuse me? You obviously know NOTHING about North Korea. The people will never be able to see this movie…they live in an incredibly oppressive regime that doesn’t allow them ANY freedom. They don’t even have enough food and thousands of them are dying of hunger RIGHT NOW. They imprison and torture THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS. There are children that were born in these prisons who grew up and died, never being able to have seen outside prison walls. They also abuse, starve and torture children born inside the prisons (their crime was being born I guess?)

      AND yet you worry about ‘offending’ their glorious leader who is the one directly responsible for this torture?

      This movie (while likely stupid) would at least have drawn attention to the plight of the North Korean people. Go educate yourself missAmina. You obviously know little about the world or just have an incredible lack of empathy.

    • Jade says:

      Erhm pls don’t think all Asians are offended on behalf of a dictator. Asia is a huge continent. Just saying.

    • Marybel says:

      Oh barf. “NO HUMOR ALLOWED”

  7. mimif says:

    Damnit. There goes my buck .09.

  8. Vampi says:

    *facepalm* *headdesk*
    This is INSANE!
    Land of the not-so-free…home of the wimps.
    This is ridiculous…and very, very frightening.
    I’m sure ISIS is taking notes.
    This sets a BAD precedent.

  9. QQ says:

    NOOOOOOOOO come on Now!! * tearing of the garments for the proper Gem of Cinema*

  10. Nicole says:

    Fantasy scenario:

    The United States government sends agents to Sony and takes the film into their possession.

    The film is released, for free, and with Korean subtitles online.

    The president gives a short introduction, admitting that he has not seen the film but that it is the right of every citizen to do so.

    Mic drop.

    • mimif says:

      FLOTUS makes an announcement that “the book was better”.

    • OriginalTessa says:

      I would cry if that happened. The feeling right now is hopeless. Our country as we know it is changing. Seth Rogen’s latest piece of oddball comedy was pulled because we’re legitimately afraid of North Korea? What what what????

      • jane16 says:

        I have cried several times the past week. My friends at Sony are terrified, there is a lot of blame and finger pointing, the whole atmosphere in the studio world is dark and pessimistic and everyone is afraid of their identities being stolen. Its been awful. The holidays are of no importance now. Everyone is looking for a leader, which is why I appreciate GC at least trying to get something positive going.

    • cr says:

      This story also appears in the Jan. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

      Whether or not North Korea is behind the Sony hack, Kim Jong Un better brace himself because The Interview is headed to his country. Human rights activists are planning to airlift DVDs of the Seth Rogen comedy into the country via hydrogen balloons.

      Fighters for a Free North Korea, run by Park Sang Hak, a former government propagandist who escaped to South Korea, has for years used balloons to get transistor radios, DVDs and other items into North Korea — not to entertain the deprived masses, but to introduce them to the outside world.”

      • Nicole says:

        I honestly hope that doesn’t happen. The North Korean dictatorship is ruthless in their oppression of North Koreans. It would be devastating to see North Koreans punished for possession of this DVD.

        I don’t think the North Koreans would benefit from seeing a satire that would feed into the lies they are told about the United States being jealous of their leaders. I doubt that Park Sang Hak, who sounds very familiar with the situation on the ground, would authorize such a move.

        Free North Korea

      • The Other Katherine says:

        North Koreans are well aware of the dangers (i.e., execution) of being caught with contraband media, which includes basically all Western films, not just those that make fun of their Dear Leader. I also don’t believe that North Koreans are somehow inherently incapable of understanding satire due to their government’s propaganda. The denizens of North Korea aren’t so much brainwashed, as starving and living in terror of their government. If a refugee from North Korea who used to be a government propagandist wants to smuggle Western cultural artifacts to North Korea, and he thinks this film is worth including, then more power to him.

      • Nicole says:

        Excuse me, but being starved and living in terror of a government for which propaganda stands in the place of all other media will have an effect of brainwashing anyone.

        Sending this movie into the country would obviously draw the government and military’s attention toward the flow of other foreign media that are being smuggled in and thereby undermine Park Sang Hak’s mission.

        We should have the right to see this movie, but it would be folly to force it on the North Koreans.

      • The Other Katherine says:

        I’m pretty sure the high-ranking North Korean officials are already fully aware that foreign media are being smuggled in. Unlike the people they are oppressing, they have unfiltered Internet access.

      • Tippy says:

        They’d probably be better off air-lifting firearms into North Korea.

        The brutal North Korean regime and the archaic, secluded society that it’s people must live in should serve as a cautionary tale of what can come about when the civilian population is disarmed.

        “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

        Thomas Jefferson

      • FLORC says:

        “You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police … yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts: words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home — all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic.” – Winston Churchill

        No matter how much power they appear to have there’s always doubt and can be gone in a moment. It’s just time.

  11. bns says:

    This is ridic. I wonder who we’ll bend over for next…

  12. Vampi says:

    A thought…
    Are we afraid because NK has China in it’s corner??
    Could be…. Hmmmmm…..

  13. What I’m actually surprised by is that Anonymous hasn’t gotten in on things. This seems like the sort of situation many of the hackers involved in that network would want to rally behind. Like leaking a Korean subtitled version of the film online for all.

  14. crazytown says:

    For crying out loud this was pulled because Sony (which is a Japanese company by the way) decided to pull it. If you think that the hackers were threatening the US in this whole mess you read it wrong. Tokyo is not that far from North Korea. IF anyone got targeted it would be that country.

    That said this was about saving face. I do not doubt 100 percent the Japanese, North Korea, South Korean, and Chinese governments all got in a room and decided what to do in order for North Korea to save face here. It was easier to pull the movie for all parties concerned.

    • cr says:

      “From early on, “The Interview” seemed to pit the sensibilities of filmmakers in the United States, where the portly North Korean leader with the cherubic looks has been a target of easy humor, against those of Sony executives in Japan, where he is reviled but taken deadly seriously.

      While many Americans seem to see North Korea as too distant to keep them awake at night, many Japanese see it as a very visible threat. Until three decades ago, North Korean agents occasionally snatched people off beaches in neighboring Japan to serve as Japanese-language teachers, and long-range North Korean rockets on test runs still fly ominously over Japan’s main islands.

      Disturbed by North Korean threats at a time when his company was already struggling, Sony’s Japanese chief executive, Kazuo Hirai, broke with what Sony executives say was a 25-year tradition. He intervened in the decision making of his company’s usually autonomous Hollywood studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment.”

  15. Amy says:


    They’re still pursuing the all-mighty dollar, just in a different way.

    Sony has lost billions, probably had a lot of employee and actor relationships sour (no one signed poor Clooney’s letter), and had their reputation as a company plummet.

    The weirdest/funniest thing about this whole thing to me is the studios didn’t really like this movie either. Based on the emails they only green-lit this because they wanted to make Seth happy. So far it seems like a lot of left turns were made in what they chose to green-light, using real names, and all the other dumb actions from beginning to here that fcked them up.

    I can’t really blame them at the end of the day. I always said people need to stop believing companies care about them and in this case while some theater owners might want to show Team America to make a point studios don’t give a sht. Maybe they have their own share of dirty emails they don’t want leaked, maybe they’re afraid things will go wrong and be blamed on them.

  16. bettyrose says:

    “I’m sooo ronery … sad and ronery….”

  17. Grumf says:

    Matt Daaamon.

  18. Tiffany says:

    So the original script has a fictional dictator and Sony said let’s use a real one. The arrogance is showing in these execs. But the lower tier employees are the ones that really got screwed.

  19. Vampi says:

    I thought Seth wrote “The Interview” script…..Am I wrong?

  20. Nicole says:

    Obama said: “We cannot have a society where some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody’s going to intimidate them for releasing a satirical movie, imagine what’s going to happen when there’s a documentary they don’t like.

    “Even worse, if producers and distributors start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody who frankly probably needs their sensibilities offended.

    “That’s not who we are. That’s not who Americans are.”

    Obama said he was sympathetic to Sony’s plight but added: “I wish they had spoken to me first.”

  21. Misprounced Name Dropper says:

    I’m sure Trey Parker and Matt Stone are writing a South Park episode about this as we speak and i bet it’ll be far more offensive to the North Korean hierarchy than The Interview.