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Posts Tagged ‘Sony Pictures’

Morning Media Newsfeed: White House Talks Sony Attack | Abrams to Leave Nightline

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White House Approaching Sony Hack as ‘National Security Issue’ (THR)
During a press briefing in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the hacking of Sony’s internal computer system has become a “national security issue” involving federal law enforcement and diplomatic personnel. Earnest also confirmed revelations from the latest batch of internal Sony emails released by the hackers that two members of the administration had screened “a rough cut” of The Interview – the impending release of which may have prompted the attack — at Sony’s request, but Earnest said Thursday that they had made no recommendations about changes or how to proceed. Time Earnest said there have been a number of daily meetings at the White House about the hack, and that there are “a range of options that are under consideration right now” for a response. Earnest would not rule out a U.S. cyber counterattack on those behind the Sony hack, saying officials are mindful of the need for a “proportional response.” The Washington Post Public attribution of the attack could come as early as this week, one national security official said. U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the government of Kim Jong Un is behind the attack. North Korea has publicly denied involvement. The attack came in apparent retaliation for Sony’s planned Christmas Day release of The Interview, a comedy built around the assassination of the North Korean leader. PRNewser The group (or country) behind the massive Sony hack sent out a warning that there would be repercussions for any theater that shows The Interview on its screens. Right away, the largest theater companies, from AMC Entertainment to Regal Entertainment and beyond, said they wouldn’t show the film. So Sony killed the whole thing. The outrage from Hollywood has been fast and furious on Twitter, with many expressing anger and disappointment that there wouldn’t be a bigger stand for freedom of expression. Deadline Sony has no plans to release the film anywhere for the foreseeable future. The news comes despite the lack — at least in public — of the same kind of terrorist threat against Sony’s international operations as was made against the studio’s U.S. release. The Interview had been set to open across all major European territories in January and February. Those plans are now off.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony Pulls The Interview | 21st Century Fox Acquires TrueX

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9/11 Threats From Sony Hackers Cause Company to Drop The Interview (FishbowlNY)
In light of the recent threats of violence from those responsible for the ongoing cyber attacks against Sony Pictures (aka the “Guardians of Peace”), the company has decided to pull the plug on Seth Rogen and James Franco‘s latest movie, The Interview. The film was scheduled to premiere nationwide on Christmas day. PRNewser Tuesday, the hackers’ threats turned to violence, invoking 9/11 and implying that someone would attack theaters screening The Interview. The movie’s planned New York premiere was subsequently cancelled. Rogen and Franco also cancelled all further press dates. Time American officials have determined the government of North Korea is connected to the hack, a U.S. official confirmed Wednesday. Much remains unclear about the nature of North Korea’s involvement. The country, while lauding the hack against Sony, has denied being behind it. There were conflicting reports Wednesday evening, and officials are expected to unveil their findings Thursday. THR Sony decided to pull The Interview from all theaters Wednesday in response to the decision by the country’s major chains not to show the film. The country’s top five theater chains — Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment — chose to pull The Interview from their theaters Wednesday. Variety Sony is weighing releasing the film on premium video-on-demand, according to an insider. That would allow the studio to recoup some of the film’s $42 million budget and tens of millions in promotion and advertising expenditures. It would also enable the studio to experiment with the potential of VOD, something it has been hesitant to do at the risk of angering major exhibitors. TheWrap Wednesday, New Regency pulled the plug on its Steve Carell movie Pyongyang, which Gore Verbinski had been prepping for a March start date. Based on the graphic novel by Guy Delisle, Pyongyang is a paranoid thriller about a Westerner’s experiences working in North Korea for a year.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Hackers Threaten Violence Over Interview | NYT Layoffs Begin

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Sony Hackers Threaten Violence Over The Interview (Re/code)
A new message from the hackers who have infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment appeared to threaten violence at or near movie theaters where the studio plans to show The Interview. The group mentioned the film for the first time by name and threatened to take unspecified actions against its premiere, set for Dec. 25, writing, “The world will be full of fear” and “Remember the 11th of September.” WSJ A Department of Homeland Security official said Tuesday afternoon the agency was aware of the threat but added: “at this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.” Variety “We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment,” the message reads. There have been suspicions that the attack may have been launched by North Korea in retaliation for the Interview’s depiction of an assassination attempt on Kim Jong-un. The country has denied involvement but praised the attacks. THR The Sony hackers also made good on their promise to release a so-called Christmas gift by posting an eighth batch of documents to the Internet on Tuesday. The documents appear to be the entire email account of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton. Lynton’s email account contains 12,466 messages, which presumably contains deleted messages, dating from Nov. 12, 2008 to Nov. 21, 2014, three days before the hack was first noticed by the studio. A special screening of the film took place in Los Angeles last week without incident. Deadline Landmark Theatres said Tuesday night that the New York premiere of the film has been canceled. The event was set for Thursday night at the Sunshine Cinema on the Lower East Side. BuzzFeed The film’s stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco, have withdrawn from all media appearances in the lead-up to the release of the film.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: NBC News Reups Williams | Jana Winter Joins The Intercept

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Brian Williams Signs New Deal With NBC (TVNewser)
NBC’s Brian Williams, who just celebrated 10 years as anchor of NBC Nightly News, has signed a new long-term deal with the network. THR Saying that he has “renewed his commitment” to the network’s news division, NBC News president Deborah Turness said in a staff memo that he will continue to serve as anchor and managing editor of the nightly broadcast “for years to come.” LA Times Though Williams will acknowledge only that it’s a long-term deal, insiders at the network say it will keep him at the helm of NBC Nightly News for at least five more years. He didn’t disclose his financial compensation, but it’s said to be more than $10 million a year. CNNMoney He is presently the longest-serving nightly news anchor, competing every weeknight against David Muir, who just took over ABC’s World News three months ago, and Scott Pelley, who became the anchor of the CBS Evening News three years ago. NYT The news ratings have been more competitive over the last year. This past summer, ABC’s newscast edged ahead of NBC for a number of weeks among the viewers most sought by news advertisers, those from the ages of 25 to 54. Williams continues to win virtually every week among total viewers, averaging more than 9 million a night, the program’s best total in almost a decade. In recent weeks he has also moved ahead again among the 25-54 group.

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Taking Another Look at That Bernard Weinraub Farewell Column

ShutterstockAmyPascal2013When Bernard Weinraub exited the New York Times in 2005, he of course composed a farewell column. That article contains what now seem like a number of very prophetic statements, given the criminal intrusion and Tinseltown reactions threatening his wife’s tenure as Sony Pictures co-chairman. Starting with this Weinraub observation about his 14 years covering Hollywood:

My marriage, and some of the events that tumbled out of it, taught me something about the ferocity of a culture in which the players can be best friends one day and savage you the next.

Maybe it was 24 hours then. But thanks to the solidified culture of texting, email and social media, it’s now nanoseconds. As some of Pascal’s emails have shown (and the press has failed to properly contextualize), one of the main jobs of a studio chief is to tell each fragile ego what they want and need to hear. Regardless of that studio chief’s personal, true beliefs.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Sony Demands News Orgs. Delete Data | Denby to Step Down

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Sony Pictures Demands News Agencies Delete ‘Stolen’ Data (NYT)
Sony Pictures Entertainment warned media outlets on Sunday against using the mountains of corporate data revealed by hackers who raided the studio’s computer systems in an attack that became public last month. THR Sony Pictures Entertainment lawyer David Boies sent a letter to news organizations Sunday, referring to leaked Sony documents as “stolen information” and demanded that the files be ignored, or destroyed if they had already been downloaded. “We are writing to ensure that you are aware that SPE does not consent to your possession, review, copying, dissemination, publication, uploading, downloading or making any use of the stolen information, and to request your cooperation in destroying the stolen information,” the letter reads. Variety The security breach and subsequent data dump has made public such internal financial documents as film budgets, earnings statements and emails from top Sony executives. It’s also resulted in a series of embarrassing revelations such as an email exchange between Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin in which the two made a series of racially charged jokes about President Barack Obama’s favorite movies. Both Rudin and Pascal have since apologized. Deadline The Sony information continues to be released in batches from unknown sources, including one Sunday in an email to news organizations that included a link to more information cached in online sites and promised an unspecified “Christmas gift” to come. Re/code A group claiming responsibility for the devastating hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment on Sunday offered to selectively hold back on releasing email correspondence of its employees, provided that they write in and ask. The offer, apparently from the Guardians of Peace, a group that says it has carried out the attacks, marks a new twist in its ongoing campaign of embarrassing leaks of data stolen from the studio’s computers, now entering its third week.

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Maureen Dowd Dismisses BuzzFeed Insinuation

AmyPascalThumbOur first reaction last night to Matthew Zeitlin‘s BuzzFeed item about some more of those Sony hack emails, in this case a brief March 2014 correspondence between studio co-chairman Amy Pascal (pictured) and her husband, former New York Times reporter Bernard Weinraub, was two-fold.

One, we quickly ascertained that there was no email in the shared string from Maureen Dowd; second, after reading, we surmised that if anyone had overstepped some bounds here – privately and carelessly – it was Pascal’s husband Weinraub. Today, in a statement provided to FishbowlNY and other outlets, Dowd has responded:

“I never showed Bernie the column in advance or promised to show it. Bernie is an old friend and the Times’ former Hollywood reporter, and he sometimes gives me ideas for entertainment columns.”

“In January, he suggested a column, inspired by a study cited in the LA Times, about the state of women in Hollywood. Amy is a friend and I reassured her before our interview that it wasn’t an antagonistic piece. She wasn’t the focus of the story, nor was Sony.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Google News Axed in Spain | Sony Execs Apologize for Emails

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Google News to Shut Down in Spain Over ‘Google Tax’ (Mashable)
Google said Thursday it will shut down its Google News service in Spain to prevent publishers’ content from appearing on it — ahead of a new law requiring the Internet search company to pay Spanish news organizations for linked content or snippets of news. NYT / Bits The website, which compiles headlines and summaries of news articles from various sources, will go dark in Spain on Dec. 16. Google plans to shut the site there in protest of the new law. The rules, which come into force in January, do not specify how much Google and others like Yahoo! News would have to pay per article. But they carry a potential one-time $750,000 fine if companies do not comply with the law. WSJ / Digits Google also is removing Spanish publishers from Google News world-wide. Those publications will still show up in general Google searches, but that’s less significant than it appears. That’s because the news “cluster” that appears with many general search results is fed by Google News. So if Spanish publishers are excluded from Google News, they won’t appear in the news cluster of ordinary search results — meaning much less traffic from Google. GigaOM Spain is not the first European country to pass a so-called ancillary copyright law — Germany did so in March 2013 — but Spain’s version is much more heavy-handed. Variety In Germany, the ancillary copyright law, introduced in July after lobbying by VG Media and backed by Axel Springer, obliged Google to pay publishers for news snippet texts on its search engine. After Google News removed the snippets from its search engine, traffic to publishers’ websites fell by 40 percent over two weeks. VG Media was forced to authorize the snippets. Demonstrating Google’s massive market power, Axel Springer CEO Mathias Dopfer dubbed its move to charge for snippets “the most successful failure in our history.”

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The Carpetbagger Bows to the Majesty of Angelina Jolie

ShutterstockAngelinaJolieMaleficentIn our humble opinion, the New York Times should have changed the name of its awards column to coincide with the recent beat takeover by Cara Buckley. “The Carpetbagger” is semi-clever and kind of makes etymological sense. But phonetically, it’s harsh; almost, obscene.

In any event, a little over six months into the roll-up-the-red-carpet-and-go, Buckley got some one-on-one time with the director of Unbroken at New York’s Porter House. The reporter starts off by suggesting that she won’t often focus in the column on one person, which seems counterproductive (isn’t awards season ultimately all about one person’s?). Later, Buckley touches on the latest strand of the Sony hack scandal as detailed by Sam Biddle:

Universal had arranged for her to have some one-on-one time with the Bagger a few hours after Ms. Jolie appeared on The Daily Show, and right before she held court at the Porter House party, where she would chat with Barbara Walters, among many others.

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Winkler Out at Bloomberg | Ebola Fighters Are Time PoTY

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Matt Winkler Steps Down at Bloomberg News (FishbowlNY)
More changes at Bloomberg News, this time involving veteran editor-in-chief Matt Winkler, who is stepping down. Winkler has been editor of Bloomberg News for the past 24 years. Capital New York John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, will succeed Winkler, who co-founded the news service with Michael Bloomberg back in 1990. Micklethwait has edited The Economist since 2006. He will leave the company at the end of January. Politico / Dylan Byers on Media The Economist is now searching for a replacement for Micklethwait, who joined the mag in 1987, a process that will very likely take several weeks. NYT On Tuesday, Bloomberg News named Winkler an editor-in-chief emeritus. One executive at Bloomberg, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said the change was a year in the making, but had accelerated since Bloomberg’s return to the company in September. Another Bloomberg executive said it was very much a joint decision based on the need for a cultural change in the news division, and that Bloomberg and Winkler remained close. HuffPost As editor-in-chief emeritus, Winkler will work with Bloomberg “on strategic initiatives, conducting high-profile interviews of global newsmakers and bringing his insights and expertise to the most important and market-moving stories.” Micklethwait will oversee editorial “across all Bloomberg platforms, including its news, newsletters, magazines, opinion, television, radio and digital properties,” according to a release. Bloomberg Media Group CEO Justin Smith, who is overseeing new consumer-facing sites for the company, like Bloomberg Politics, will continue reporting to Michael Bloomberg.

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