‘The Interview’ Online, VOD Sales Reach $31 Million

The Interview

The Interview” has made $31 million in online and video-on-demand revenues through its first week and a half of release, Sony Pictures Entertainment reported on Tuesday.

In addition, the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy has generated more than $5 million in limited theatrical release. That’s a combined total of $36 million for a film that cost roughly $75 million to produce and market.

The studio previously announced that “The Interview” made $15 million in its first four days of release with only a fraction of the number of distributors, so the new numbers indicate that sales and rentals have slowed as the controversy surrounding the film has died down. These latest figures are as of Jan. 4.

The film about a hapless TV host tasked with assassinating Kim Jong-un was originally intended to be released on roughly 3,000 screens on Christmas Day. It was expected to generate $20 million during its opening.

However, the gory subject matter likely inspired a cyberattack from North Korea that brought Sony to its knees. After hackers evoked 9/11 and threatened violence, a theatrical release was briefly scuttled before Sony backtracked and lined up hundreds of arthouse and independent theaters willing to show the film. Its decision to release the film simultaneously on-demand and theatrically infuriated major exhibitors, which refused to show the picture on their screens.

Initially, the film was available only on YouTube, Google Play and Microsoft Xbox. Apple and its iTunes platform joined the fray after the film had been in release for five days. Last week the list of providers expanded to include cable, telco and satellite companies — a contingent that includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV; Verizon FiOS, Cablevision and Dish.

In its second week of theatrical release, “The Interview” expanded from 331 to 558 venues.

It’s not clear what the financial terms are between Sony and the various distributors. Theatrical revenues are typically an even split between studios and exhibitors.

Sony’s decision to make its on-demand and digital sales figures public provides a rare glimpse at home entertainment revenues. Those finances are typically kept private. Only a handful of arthouse and independent releases have reached these kind of levels, such as “Snowpiercer” ($8.2 million), “Arbitrage” ($14 million) and “Bachelorette” ($8.2 million).

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  1. macd says:

    The hacking mess aside, the best movies SONY could come up with for the lucrative/prestigious holiday season were a lousy remake of “Annie” and yet another James Franco comedy? At other studios, heads have rolled for far less! Small wonder the likes of “Unbroken” and “Into the Woods” are overperforming–no competition!

  2. Kennandu says:

    Spoiler Alert. In the sequel they blow Kim’s head up again.

  3. sr says:

    Let’s imagine for a moment that Sony knew this film was a piece of crap, so in order to maximize the profit probability, it created this “hack” job and pinned it on North Korea. The emails released? The studio was fed up with these people, or they knew and went along with it knowing that this kind of publicity would garner big time profits. The word from those who have seen this film is that it’s a piece of garbage, or let’s be real, it’s shit. Of course Hollywood’s lackey the equally fake/fraud obama will now send his hounds, ie fbi, cia, dhs to attack North Korea to legitimize this publicity stunt. And guess what? Sony won.

    • Julius Blumberg says:

      That would be possible but Sony didn’t win yet as the film still hasn’t made enough to break even and the current numbers are sliding fast as the novelty wears off. It doesn’t look like they will come close to breaking even.

      • Naw, the hack happened. Pinning it on North Korea may or may not have been Sony, but they wouldn’t risk the lawsuits from the 40,000 lost SSN #s and HIPAA violations, nor would they put Annie, Fury, Mr Turner, Still Alice and To Write Love on Her Arms out for everybody to download a month plus before 4 of their release dates. From my understanding, The Interview had reasonably good tracking for the kind of movie it was, and imo it was much better than Neighbors (which grossed $150m domestically) and This Is The End ($100m domestic) so it’s borderline illogical to suggest they hacked themselves to promote a movie on a lesser platform, especially not for the surprisingly low price they pushed it out at.

        Sony faking the hack as an advertising scheme is a nice thought, but it’s a completely stupid one.

    • jhs39 says:

      Your analysis is completely illogical. The Interview has made less money between VOD and theatrical than it would have at this point with the original wide theatrical release. Sony is almost certainly going to lose money on The Interview with the current release strategy. Consider that Sony’s Annie remake is an even bigger piece of crap than The Interview–Annie has a positive critics’ rating of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes while The Interview has a positive rating of 51%. Annie has made 73 million dollars to date even with competition from the final Night at the Museum. The Interview would have had no real competition for the comedy genre and very likely would have grosses closer to Annie than to the 36 million dollars it has grossed with VOD.

      You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and your imagination needs to be fueled by something other than paranoid conspiracy theories that anyone with half a brain can easily refute.

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