My Fellow Americans,
It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I must inform you of the following. We have been forced to pull the plug on our annual Fourth of July screening of The Team America: World Police Sing-a-Long and Curse-a-Thon.
A bit of history: back in December, it was a crazy time in the film distribution world. In the matter of a couple of weeks, Sony Pictures, responding to an epic hack and subsequent threats of violent retribution, decided to, in order:
1. Push back the release of the controversial comedy The Interview.
2. Pull the release completely.
3. Release it to a select group of fearless arthouse theatres (*ahem*).
4. Also release it online everywhere.
Somewhere between decisions 2 and 3, several savvy arthouse theatre programmers booked Team America as a way of celebrating free speech, etc. But those bookings were quickly cancelled by Paramount when the issue was deemed too hot. Subsequently, The Interview was rolled out to theatres anyway, 100% without incident, and everyone had a good laugh.
When we contacted Paramount last winter to confirm that we’d be alright to go ahead with our plans for the Team America Sing-a-Long, we were told that it would all clear up by then. But when we went to confirm our booking recently, we were told that, “We are no longer licensing Team America.” No explanation (despite several requests) followed. Paramount Pictures seems to be stuck in the hysteria of mid-December 2014, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Are we angry that an apparently dead issue is blocking our ability to celebrate America’s birthday? Yes!
Are we miffed that we’re being denied the ability to show this ridiculous little puppet movie for the 10th year in a row? You betcha!
Are we irritated that our annual potty-mouthed celebration of FREE F***IN’ SPEECH is being silenced? Yeppers!
Are we going to sit back and do nothing about it? Hell no!
You can expect an announcement of a replacement program soon. It won’t be Team America, but it will be patriotic, it will involve singing, and it will be FUN. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.