The Interview’s haphazard release may have worked better than Sony planned. CNN’s Brian Stelter is reporting that the film was rented or purchased 4.3 million times, adding up to roughly $31 million from online sales alone. The film also grossed roughly $5 million in theaters after its run was drastically scaled back in the face of terror threats. That adds up to an impressive total for a film that many thought might not be released at all.
Because of the chaos following the Sony hack, The Interview’s release was staggered across a number of platforms, premiering at different times on YouTube, Xbox Video and Google Play, and reigning for days as the most popular film on YouTube. The price was a consistent $6 to rent and $15 to own, although it’s unclear how the new figures break down between the platforms.
It’s still unlikely that the film will break even, since it’s working off a $44 million budget and at least $35 million in marketing costs. But the figures suggest a surprising appetite for first-run movies delivered through digital channels. As Sony’s press release notes, The Interview is already their #1 digital release ever, less than a month after its premiere