The Interview, Seth Rogen’s dictator-killing comedy, and perhaps the most controversial film of all time (albeit for all the wrong reasons), has been doing steady business online over the festive period.
After geopolitical hullaballoo saw Sony cancel the film’s planned theatrical release, it was released online instead (and at select theatres), premiering on Christmas Eve on YouTube, Google Play, a special Sony website, and Xbox Video.
From these platforms, the film was quickly downloaded more than 2 million times, making it Sony’s most successful ever online release, and generating $15 million.
“Through Saturday, December 27, including all of its online distribution platforms, The Interview has been rented or purchased online more than 2 million times,” reads a statement from Sony. “Total consumer spending through Saturday for The Interview online is over $15 million.”
Perhaps more surprisingly, however, the film was also a digital record breaker in Asia, where it broke illegal downloading records after it was viewed over 300,000 times within a matter of days.
Not everyone, however, has been wholly impressed by these figures. Joel Espelien, Senior Advisor for TDG, points out that, considering the stratospheric level of publicity, the film should have done better. “The Interview is a case study for releasing video online, but perhaps not in the positive sense,” he writes. “An online release clearly was not the original plan. As the controversy around the movie gained momentum, Sony found itself reacting to events and having to scramble.”