Sony’s The Interview is starting to pick up steam, albeit in an untraditional way. After being shut out by major theater chains for a Christmas Day opening, Sony received backing from just 331 independent theaters for the release, which was good enough to deliver $2.8 million at the box-office over the holiday weekend.
Sony also made the shrewd move to simultaneously make the movie available online for rental/purchase on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Live, Vudu and via iTunes. The online release of The Interview set a record for Sony, raking in $15 million in the first few days of availability making it Sony’s most successful online movie to date.
Sony plans to increase momentum for The Interview with a broader rollout in even more theaters this weekend. The number of theaters showing the movie will rise from last weekend’s 331 to over 580 this weekend. Unfortunately, for Sony, the five major theater chains — Carmike Cinema, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Cineplex Entertainment, and Regal Entertainment Group — have still failed to sign off on showing the film.
In addition to expanded theater support, The Interview will also find its way to most pay TV services by next week. Cable providers including AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS will offer the film via video on-demand and pay-per-view. Satellite company DirecTV is also onboard with the film.
Sony is looking to quickly recoup its investment in the film, which we previously reported cost the company around $44 million to make. But we also have to take into account marketing costs, which add on another $30 to $40 million according to Reuters.
It remains to be seen whether Sony will ever reach that $74 to $84 million mark with The Interview once the controversy and publicity surrounding the film dies down.