The Sony-hacking state of NoKo made threats that 9/11 proportioned attacks would happen if The Interview was screened. Sony promptly cancelled all screenings. Some theatres promised to run Team America in its place. Paramount then nixed that idea. A movie in the works, starring the Office and Despicable Me star, Steve Carrel has been axed, because the script involves NoKo and Li’l Li’l Kim. A swift wave of self-censorship by the movie industry.
Putting oneself in the shoes of the decision makers here, you can see that they would not want to be responsible for any bloodbath, even if the risk was small. Movie theatres are soft targets. Rather than run that risk, they decided to nix the trigger.
Carefully consider the likelihood of attack. We know NoKo was behind the hacks and the threat. So, suppose, as is probably not the case, that they have sleeper cells, or even a single cell of agents/terrorists, that is poised to attack if Sony does screen the film.
Only after this situation has fully blossomed does he issue the threat, making sure the 9/11 reference is included. He hopes that Sony develops weak knees and theatre chains likewise. If that happens, Li’l Li’l Kim has a win; a big precedent setting win. If not, still a win, not quite as big, but he will have shown the capability of NoKo hacking skills, and an ability to control Hollywood’s choices from a distance.
Yet this brings me back to my initial point. If he does do more, he knows we will only tolerate so much. Suppose he were to inflict serious damage to electrical or other infrastructure. There would be consensus that this amounted to an act of war, an attack on the homeland on par with, or of greater magnitude than Pearl Harbor or the 9/11 attacks. Hell would rain down upon his sorry sick ass.