The Interview, the controversial film from Sony Pictures that saw its nationwide theatrical release cancelled before finding a home at select independently-owned theaters and online in the wake of a devastating attack against the studio, could end up becoming one of the most important movies in years.
In an unprecedented move, Sony decided not to let hackers rule the day and instead, opted to simultaneously release the film online on Christmas Eve. Since that time, the movie has been rented or purchased more than 4.3 million times, bringing the total revenue from its online release to more than $31 million.
In the first four days, the film made $15 million online and in the next eight days, it brought in an additional $16 million. As such, it has become the number one Sony Pictures online film of all time.
The Interview has also earned roughly $5 million from its run at independently-owned theaters.
While it’s entirely possible that the movie could have earned more money from a traditional theatrical release (Christmas is a huge day for movie theaters), that option was no longer in the cards. Following threats of terrorist attacks at theaters showing the film, all of the major theater chains decided not to screen it.
The movie still has a bit more money to earn before breaking even on its $44 million budget but perhaps more importantly, it’s opened the door for simultaneous online releases. Whether or not Sony or any other studio plans to willingly take that route again in the near future, however, remains to be seen.