Variety‘s Scott Foundas beat me to the punch in posting about the parallel between Michael Mann‘s Blackhat (Universal, 1.16) and James BridgesThe China Syndrome (’79). Both films achieved notoriety because real-life events, occurring within days of their release, spiked public interest. The Bridges film, a thriller about a meltdown at a California nuclear power plant, benefitted from the notorious Three Mile Island meltdown happening less than two weeks after the film opened. Blackhat, a cyber thriller about hackers and counter-hackers opening on 12.25, will probably get a boost from interest in the ongoing Sony hack.

The difference is that after today’s almost certainly bogus threat of attacks upon theaters playing The Interview, Nervous Nellies are probably going to stay home or perhaps even avoid the megaplexes altogether. Fear is illogical. Once it sinks in it’s very difficult to turn it off. An MSNBC interviewer led off a chat today with L.A. Times reporter Joe Bel Bruno by asking “is Sony going to pull this movie?” It would be shameful if Sony does this, of course.