"The Interview" has been purchased or rented more than 2 million times, Sony Pictures Entertainment said Sunday, making it the studio's highest-selling online movie of all time. Sony said the controversial move, which was made available on Christmas Eve, had netted more than $15 million as of Saturday.
Co-star and co-director Seth Rogen expressed his excitement that so many people had also chosen to see the movie in real theaters after select independent movie houses chose to screen it, even though they had the option of watching it from the comfort of their own living rooms. "I'm so grateful that the movie found its way into theaters, and I'm thrilled that people actually went out and saw it," Rogen said. "The fact that people actually left their houses when they had the option of staying home is amazing."
Sony reversed its decision not to release the comedy, which depicts a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, on Christmas Day after hackers threatened theaters that chose to show it. The FBI said North Korea was behind the threats and a massive hack on Sony. North Korea has denied that.
By Wednesday, the movie was streaming on Google Play, YouTube and Microsoft Xbox, and 331 independent movie theaters had decided to screen the movie on Christmas. The movie is expected to gross $2.8 million from theater screenings over the Christmas weekend, and after five days of streaming, it already ranked as Sony Pictures number one online film, the group said. "The number one priority of our unconventional release was to give people the chance to see The Interview," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures. "We are very pleased with how it is doing both theatrically where we are seeing numerous sell-outs across the country, and online where it remains at the top of many charts."
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— Hallie Jackson and Elisha Fieldstadt