Oh, the irony. After Sony cancelled the release of The Interview, a few theaters declared that they would show the 2004 hit Team America: World Police in its place as a protest against threats to free expression. That film also derided the government of North Korea, as well as the liberal Hollywood establishment that catered to anti-American despots in what was a prescient (if irreverent and very R-rated) satire.
As if to emphasize the latter critique, two cinemas have announced that Paramount Pictures has forbidden them to show the film publicly:
At least two movie theaters say Paramount Pictures has ordered them not to show Team America: World Police.
Breaking Plaza news : Team America World Police pulled from all theatres as per Paramount Pictures .
— The Plaza Theatre (@PlazaAtlanta) December 18, 2014
Please note: Our Late Shift screening of Team America: World Police has been canceled by Paramount Pictures. pic.twitter.com/TlPVzIeICW
— Capitol Theatre (@CapitolW65th) December 18, 2014
You might think that this would be a moment for some in Hollywood to stand up for free expression. You would, apparently, be wrong. In this case, it’s all the more ironic, as TAWP features this send-up song that actually has the perfect message for this week. Freedom isn’t free, folks. Sometimes it costs a lot more than a buck-oh-five, but in this case Paramount stood to make a lot more than a buck-oh-five, and still caved.
The video’s NSFW because of language, but this week I’m willing to say, “f*** it.”
If Paramount — which stood to gain in this transaction — won’t throw in its buck-oh-five, who in Hollywood will?
Updated: Gizmodo calls this “a staggering act of cowardice“:
Terrorist threats are no laughing matter, of course, but the Department of Homeland Security has found no credible threat and evidence that the Guardians of Peace have any sort of manpower that could do anything within the boundaries of the United States (much less at thousands of locations simultaneously) is practically non-existent. This sort of panicked cowardice would be laughably absurd if it wasn’t so damn sad.