Christmas Box Office: Sellouts Reported for ‘The Interview’

The Interview James Franco Seth Rogen

Nearly all Christmas Day screenings of Sony’s “The Interview” have sold out at the 17 Alamo Drafthouse locations — an initial positive signal over the studio’s decision to go with independent theaters to release the political satire.

“We’re seeing filmgoers come out in droves,” Christian Parkes, chief branding officer for the Texas-based chain, told Variety.

Parkes also said that Alamo Drafthouse has started recording sellouts for the showings for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday screenings. The executive said that the massive publicity surrounding the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy and Sony Pictures Entertaiment has elevated awareness among customers to unprecedented levels.

“I can’t imagine what the people at Sony have been through,” he added. “But this is definitely the kind of publicity that you can’t buy. People were going to see the movie anyway but now they are telling us that they believe it’s their patriotic duty.”

Most of the Drafthouse sites are in Texas with four in Austin.

Sony has managed to secure releases for “The Interview” in about 300 theaters — about 10% of what it had originally planned before it withdrew the film on Dec. 17. Following a rebuke by President Obama, Sony responded to an aggressive move by the Art House Coalition — a group of indies that included Alamo Drafthouse — that were willing to play the movie despite a VOD release.

Major chains such as AMC, Regal and Carmike are refusing to book “The Interview” due to the VOD release, which launched Wednesday morning via YouTube, Google, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and its own website for $5.99. The chains have strongly opposed any simultaneous VOD release of a movie while it is playing in their theaters.

“The Interview,” which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as bumbling TV journalists persuaded by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea, is coming into the market with mixed reviews. It has a 52% “fresh” rating on the Rotten Tomatoes aggregator site — but the curiosity factor has probably been elevated due to the barrage of recent news coverage.


Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 11

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. hardiharhar says:

    The major chains sticking to their rules about not booking films concurrently on VOD are not only showing commercial ignorance but shooting themselves in their feet. The volume of press this film has got is worth at least half a billion bucks. The indies who are booking the film will earn 50% of their annual box office in a few weeks.

  2. elisabettaly says:

    Reblogged this on Filmologìe of monsters and little princesses and commented:
    i usually love good marketing but this stunt has been a bit much, tiny weeny much, merry xmas!!

  3. Bill says:

    I was rooting for Sony until I found out about the simultaneous VOD release.

    They could have given the independent theaters a window of at least the weekend.

    Thanks for killing ticket sales for the very businesses that wanted to support you.

  4. John Shea says:

    So now the big theater chains are shooting themselves in their OTHER foot!?

  5. Daniel says:

    Actually, Parkes, it´s publicity that Sony will pay for. Once they´re successfully sued.

  6. Ah the brave and the bold good US of A. And god bless our Indi spirit and Distributors.

    Brought to move forth in new formats of distribution through peril and strive. God bless America the land we love even with its flaws.

  7. cadavra says:

    Hey, Mel Brooks! You’ve just been handed the plot for THE PRODUCERS 2: CHRISTMAS FOR KIMMY!

  8. pklhomedecor says:

    Just nice to see this is finally going to be viewed.

More Film News from Variety