×

‘The Interview’ Makes $40 Million Online and On-Demand

Despite terrorist threats and a last-minute digital release, “The Interview” has generated over $40 million in rentals and sales, Sony Pictures reports.

In addition, “The Interview” has been rented or purchased online and through cable, satellite, and telecom providers more than 5.8 million times from Wednesday, December 24, 2014, through Sunday, January 18, 2015.

After major theater chains pulled out of showing “The Interview,” Sony Pictures had to scramble to pull together an emergency digital release for the R-rated comedy. The publicity surrounding the cancellation appears to have helped “The Interview” find an audience online and on-demand.

Despite those impressive figures, it’s not clear if the film will be profitable. It cost roughly $75 million to produce and market, according to knowledgeable insiders, and theatrical ticket sales have been minuscule. The film has made roughly $6 million domestically.

The film about a hapless TV host tasked with assassinating North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was originally intended to be released on roughly 3,000 screens on Christmas Day. However, the subject matter allegedly inspired a cyber-attack from North Korea that brought Sony to its knees. After hackers evoked 9/11 and threatened violence, a theatrical release was briefly scuttled.

After Sony announced it was changing course and releasing the film on digital platforms, major theater chains refused to screen it. That left a few hundred arthouse and independent theaters that were willing to exhibit the picture.

A Bloomberg report citing a person close to the studio stated that Sony expects to break even on the film, but that math has been disputed by the National Association of Theatre Owners. In a Box Office magazine column, NATO spokesperson Patrick Corcoran argued that the film will lose $30 million.

“In this simultaneous-release game, Sony is $30 million in the hole and almost out of cards,” he wrote. “The only game changed here was just how much Sony left on the table.”

In a press release touting the latest digital and on-demand figures, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton offered a rosier assessment.

“We always said that we would get the movie to the greatest audience possible,” said Lynton. “Achieving over $40 million in digital sales is a significant milestone.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos

    Korea: 'The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos’ Rules Chuseok Holiday Box Office

    Local films dominated cinemagoing in South Korea over the 4-day Chuseok holiday weekend, traditionally one of the year’s busiest periods. The winner was “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos.” Opening on Wednesday, the CJ Entertainment release earned $20.2 million from 1.97 million admissions over five days. A film adaptation of CJ E&M’s 2014 hit TV [...]

  • Disco

    New Europe Sells Toronto and San Sebastian Film 'Disco' to Several Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jan Naszewski’s New Europe Film Sales has signed several distribution deals on “Disco,” which had its world premiere in Toronto Film Festival’s Discovery section and makes its European premiere in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition. The film has been picked up by Palace for Australia and New Zealand, Artcam for Czech Republic and Slovakia, Kino [...]

  • "Jade Dynasty" in front at the

    China Box Office: 'Jade Dynasty' in Front Ahead of Mixed Competition

    With “Jade Dynasty” out front, Chinese action and Asian animation films led the way at the China box office over the past weekend, while the few American titles in play have failed to attract many moviegoers. Chinese action fantasy “Jade Dynasty” led the weekend box office in its debut with $38.1 million, figures from consultancy [...]

  • The Painted Bird

    Venice Competition Film 'The Painted Bird' Is Czech Entry in Oscar Race

    Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in the main competition and also played at the Toronto Film Festival in Special Presentations, has been selected as the Czech Republic’s entry for the 92nd Academy Awards in the international feature film category. The pic follows the journey of an unnamed [...]

  • Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar'

    Pakistan Picks Freshman Effort 'Laal Kabootar' as Its Oscar Entry

    Pakistan’s Academy Selection Committee has chosen “Laal Kabootar” as its candidate for the Oscars’ international feature film category. Directed by first-time helmer Kamal Khan, the gangland thriller set in Karachi’s underbelly follows the events that transpire when a woman in search of her husband’s killer is thrown together with a cab driver and petty criminal [...]

  • Atlantis

    Toronto Film Review: 'Atlantis'

    “It took you 10 years to cleanse this region of Soviet propaganda and myths,” says one character to another in “Atlantis,” going on to suggest that the devastation now left behind may never be “cleansed” at all. A strikingly bleak vision of a near future in which Ukraine has won its war with Russia but [...]

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content