The recent hype surrounding The Interview has reached North Korea. The country's citizens are becoming more and more aware of this comedy, which depicts a couple of bumbling media journalists attempting to assassinate their leader Kim Jong-un. And the government is trying to stop bootlegs from being smuggled across the border as demand for it continues to grow.
According to Free North Korea Radio, which is made up of North Korean defectors, demand for The Interview continues to rise in the country, with citizens paying as high as $50 for a copy on the black market. This is reportedly ten times higher than the average asking price of the most popular South Korean TV shows that are sold illegally. An emergency meeting was held between North Korea's State Security Department and The Ministry of People's Security, whose officers were instructed not to let the movie find its way into the country at any cost.
Border security has become heightened in the wake of The Interview being pirated and sold throughout the world after its release in American theaters and on VOD over the Christmas holiday. Black market dealers have been instructed not to bring any movie whatsoever in from the United States. The Interview is seen as a real threat because it mocks Kim Jong-un, and breaks down the government's narrative that the leader is an 'almighty god'.
Rich Klein of the advisory firm McLarty Associates says:
"The Interview [could become] a very real challenge to the ruling regime's legitimacy. Think of the movie as Chernobyl for the digital age. Just as the nuclear catastrophe in the Soviet Union and the dangerously clumsy efforts to hide it exposed the Kremlin's leadership as inept and morally bankrupt, overseeing a superpower rusting from the inside, so does The Interview risk eroding the myths, fabrications and bluster that keep the Kim dynasty in power."
More North Koreans may be able to see the movie soon, though. North Korean defector and activist Park Sang Hak claims he will send copies of the comedy to Pyongyang through the use of 33-foot hydrogen balloons as soon as the movie is legally available on DVD.