Poll: Majority believes Sony overreacted

Most Americans believe that Sony Pictures overreacted by canceling its Christmas Day release of "The Interview" following a cyberattack by hackers working for North Korea, according to a new CNN/ORC poll. 

In the poll, released Tuesday, 62 percent say Sony's decision to cancel the film's initial release after threats of violence was an "overreaction," compared to 36 percent who say it was the "right decision."

Sony CEO Michael Lynton last week fired back at President Obama's suggestion that the studio "made a mistake" by canceling its initial release.

"We do not own movie theaters," Lynton said in an interview on CNN. "We cannot determine whether or not a movie will be played in movie theaters."


Last month, the so-called "Guardians of Peace" hackers stole troves of data and emails from Sony's networks, leaking some of the data. This month they threatened 9/11-style attacks on theaters that screened the "The Interview," a controversial comedy revolving around a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnNorth Korea accuses US of 'hostile provocation' in missile test criticism Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Bolton rips Trump administration's move to block UN meeting on North Korea MORE

The FBI has accused North Korea of sponsoring the Sony cyberattack. 

In retaliation, the White House is weighing additional financial sanctions against North Korea, targeting companies and banks used by leader Kim Jong Un and members of his regime.

More than three-quarters of Americans, 76 percent, would support additional economic sanctions against the communist government, while 1 in 5, 20 percent, would oppose such action, according to the CNN poll. 

More than 6 in 10, 61 percent, would classify the cyberattack as "terrorism," compared to 36 percent who would not.

Obama said Sunday in an interview aired on CNN's "State of the Union" that the cyberattack was not an act of war but "an act of cyber vandalism," while Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE (R-Ariz.) described the attack on the same show as "a manifestation of a new form of warfare."

About 1 in 3 Americans, 34 percent, would classify the actions on the part of the North Korean government as an "act of war," while 65 percent say do they do not feel that way.

Sony attorney David Boies said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the movie would be distributed after the studio secures a distribution channel. 

The CNN survey of 1,011 Americans was conducted via landlines and cellphones Dec. 18-21 with a margin of error of 3 points.