A Year After the Hack, Sony’s Chief Explains How Hollywood Heals

Once every two or three weeks, when Michael Lynton [pictured] is eating lunch at a restaurant or traveling for business, someone brings it up.

It's usually an acquaintance, but it's sometimes a stranger. Either way, it's someone who has read excerpts of emails stolen from the 55-year-old chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment as part of the massive computer hack that began a year ago.

Though he finds those conversations strange, he mostly brushes it off. Lynton -- and Sony -- wants to keep the worst cyberattack in American corporate history squarely in the rear-view mirror.

"When you walk around the studio now, oddly, it feels very much the way it did before the hack," Lynton said. "It feels like we're back to normal and that we're very much down to business. And that to me is the greatest triumph."

Lynton's tone stands in contrast to the atmosphere during the months after cyberterrorists launched a devastating attack on Sony's computer systems in response to the studio's decision to release "The Interview," a film that depicted the fictional assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The assault, which the U.S. blamed on North Korea, went public Nov. 24. It wiped data from its servers, exposed the personal information of tens of thousands of people, and revealed embarrassing emails between executives and filmmakers, including racially tinged jokes between then-studio chief Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin.

In the darkest moments, employees received intimidating messages, and movie theaters that planned to screen "The Interview" were threatened with a 9/11-style terrorism attack. Executives were widely criticized for greenlighting the movie, while free speech advocates and President Obama rebuked Sony's leadership when they briefly appeared to halt the release.

There are growing signs that the storm clouds are parting over the Culver City lot of the studio, owned by the Tokyo electronics...

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