What did you watch over the Christmas break? Christmas standards like “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “Home Alone” or “A Christmas Story“? Or were you one of the 2 million that (legally) purchased “The Interview“? If so, you helped the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy become Sony‘s biggest digital release of all time.
In official numbers released by the studio over the weekend, they revealed that through Saturday, the assassination comedy earned over $15 million online. Now, bear in mind that doesn’t include rental and sales from Apple’s iTunes store, which only got “The Interview” on Sunday, which means by time the Christmas and New Year’s breaks are over, those figures will only get higher. And combined with the $1.8 million haul from the limited theatrical release, the total comes near the $20 million mark Sony had been projecting if the movie had gone into wide release as planned. And while some may point to “The Interview” as a torch bearer of things to come, it is worth taking a moment to consider a few things.
Mainly, no online release has been given this much free press and publicity — it’s entirely unprecedented and unlikely to be repeated. And while we’re certainly headed down a path where multiplexes will only screen event movies or blockbusters, studios still need to figure out how to market movies in a VOD space that is cluttered with product. “The Interview” was a moment unto itself, but each week, countless other movies hit digital outlets and fight to get noticed.
Either way, the story of “The Interview” has a happy ending for Sony….but not so for scalpers. Jason Best from Cincinnati bought $650 worth of tickets, in the hopes of scalping them when “The Interview” was announced to open on Christmas Day after being canceled. But his plans were swiftly killed when Sony decided to also make the movie available digitally. Best tried to refund the tickets and you can see how that turned out by watching the WCPO story below.
— Mashable (@mashable) December 28, 2014