There was a ton of hoopla about Sony releasing The Interview through internet services before it even hit theaters,
but how much did this not-entirely-intentional experiment in online
distribution pan out? Quite well, if you ask Sony. It just revealed that
the movie racked up $15 million in digital rentals and sales (spread
across 2 million customers) between its Wednesday release and Saturday,
making the North Korea-themed comedy the studio’s “#1 online film of all
time” within a matter of days. The company isn’t breaking down numbers
by service, but Recode‘s sources claim that the “vast majority” of business came from Google Play and YouTube. Sorry, Xbox Video.
The figures also mean that The Interview earned more online than it did in theaters (currently estimated at $3 million), although that’s not hard. The theatrical release
was limited to a relatively small batch of independent movie houses
rather than the thousands of locations run by major chains like AMC —
for many people, internet viewing was the only way to see what
all the fuss was about. You’re probably not going to see Sony repeating
this launch strategy any time soon, then, but it at least shows that the
media giant is salvaging something out of the hacking drama from the past few weeks.