Sony released “The Interview” in select theaters as well as on YouTube and Google Play despite a massive data breach and terrorist-style threats that were meant to stymie the project. Thanks to the publicity that stemmed from the attack on Sony Pictures, “The Interview” has become Sony’s most successful online movie by raking in $15 million in sales though Saturday.
According to Sony, The movie was rented or downloaded over 2 million times since it was released on Tuesday. It is Sony’s highest grossing online release of all time, far outpacing successes such as “Snowpiercer” with $7 million and “Bachelorette” with $8.2 million. Meanwhile, the limited theater release earned nearly $3 million – the movie, which cost $75 million to produce, was originally slated to be shown on around 3,000 screens on Christmas day and was expected to generate around $20 million during its opening weekend.
“We worked hard to get the film out there by Christmas Day,” said Sony Pictures president of worldwide distribution Rory Bruer who spoke to Variety on Sunday morning. “It was such a whirlwind to get it done that it kind of amazes me that we were able to make it happen.”
Sony didn’t provide any information about the financial terms it has with online distributors, but it is said to be more favorable than what studios share with theater chains. Originally available on Google Play, YouTube, and Microsoft Xbox since Christmas Eve, Google’s properties made up the bulk of the film’s $15 million total. Apple’s iTunes began offering the film on Sunday, so its numbers weren’t included in the final tally.
“The Interview” can be rented for $5.99 and sells for $14.99.
Netflix is currently in talks to secure “The Interview” as well, but no deal has been reached.
Meanwhile, Sony is still dealing with the aftermath of the massive data breach that resulted in the release of social security numbers for actors and Sony employees, a movie script, and threats made against the company’s employees. 9/11-style attacks were also threatened by the hacking group #GOP if “The Interview” was released in theaters prompting major theater chains to not show the movie and Sony, for a brief time, cancelling the December 25 theatrical release of the movie.