‘The Interview’ Earns $15 Million in Online Sales Because America Loves Freedom

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bill-swift - December 30, 2014

Americans don't mind when studio executives, the FCC, or various religious leaders tell them what movies that can and cannot watch. But a totalitarian dictator from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Hell no. If Kim Jong-Un tells us not to watch something, you can be damn sure we're going to watch it just to spite him.

Hence the historic opening weekend for Sony's The Interview. Less than a week after the studio cancelled the film's Christmas Day release, Sony changed their minds planned on a simultaneous limited theater-VOD release.The result? The film made $2.8 million at box offices and $15 million in streaming sales.

That's a big deal, so I'll repeat it: $15 million in streaming sales.

While we can't officially call that a record because studios don't release those figures for every film, we know this beats other recent straight-to-VOD "success stories" such as Snowpiercer($7 million) and Arbitrage ($14). So unofficially, yeah, The Interview set a new record.

The film still has a long way to go to become profitable. It cost Sony $44 million to make the movie about James Franco and Seth Rogen assassinating the leader of North Korea, and they spent an estimated $30 million promoting it. However, industry analysts were only predicting a $20 million opening before North Korea got involved. And the $15 million in streaming sales came before Apple, the biggest player in movie streaming, added the film to their iTunes catalogue. So it may break even yet.