Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton continues to be the public face of the studio in the wake of the devastating November cyber attack over The Interview., a comedy feature about a harebrained plot to assassinate North Korea’s autocratic ruler, Kim Jong-un. The studio canceled the film’s original Christmas Day release on December 17 after hackers threatened 9/11-type attacks in emailed messages. Following a limited release on December 25, the film has grossed $5 million theatrically and $31 million in VOD sales. Here is a memo Lynton sent to employees worldwide Monday on return from the holiday:
Hello everyone, and happy New Year!
I hope you enjoyed time with your family and friends during the holidays.
As we return from our holiday break, I wanted to take a moment to update you on our recovery process, reflect on the past six weeks, and begin to talk about the new year.
We released The Interview through a variety of platforms, and we continue to look for other distribution options. Throughout this whole process, we never stopped – not for a single moment – trying to secure a broad release. Our studio takes great pride in continuing to grow the release of this movie and making it a success. I am so proud of the teams that worked long hours through the holiday break to make this a reality, and for the positive response from the public.
The teams that worked on the innovative distribution of The Interview are just a few of the many that put in long hours over our studio holiday to ensure business continuity, rebuild our systems, and protect our company. I am grateful for the sacrifices many of you made to make this all happen.
While there have been and will continue to be challenges as we recover from these extraordinary events, what we have all learned through this process is how strong this company and its people are. Over the past six weeks, I have seen incredible tenacity, resilience, and grit. This inspires me, and gives me great confidence that we will not only recover, but thrive because of what we’ve been through.
We have demonstrated – through the release of The Interview in particular – the value of collaboration through our incredibly diverse business. We have demonstrated the value of innovation through finding creative work-arounds. We have demonstrated the value of drive, as it has gotten us through the past few weeks and will be what takes us to the next level.
We will take what we have learned from this experience and innovate our business together. We will continue to renew and redefine Sony Pictures.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll have many conversations about the state of our business: what works and what needs to improve. As I’ve seen over the past weeks, I would like the hallmark of this change to be collaboration. I want each of you to think about your teams, your contributions, and your ability to influence your networks – both internal to and external to the company – at Sony Pictures. Your leaders and I want to hear your thoughts on what we can do better and differently to make a stronger Sony Pictures. Together, let’s shape the future of our company.
I look forward to a 2015 filled with possibilities, and am excited for Sony Pictures to show the world exactly what it’s made of. Thanks again for all that you do, and welcome back.