Sony's decision to release the now-controversial film The Interview online seems to have paid off – at least financially.
According to the company, the film has already generated over $15 million in sales, having been downloaded or rented over two million times in the past few days. By comparison, it's made about $3 million in theaters (though it did have a rather limited release).
A couple of days before its scheduled-then-canceled Christmas Day release, Sony announced that it would premiere the film in a handful of theaters nationwide, saying,
“We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
The first wave of the theatrical release wound up hitting around 300 locations.
But the theatrical release isn't where Sony made its money over the weekend. On Christmas Eve, it decided to release the film online – on YouTube, Xbox Video, Google Play, and SeetheInterview.com (a Sony site).
You can buy it for $15 or rent it for $6.
"In addition to the strong turnout for its limited theatrical release over the holiday weekend, after only four days, The Interview already ranks as Sony Pictures #1 online film of all time," said Sony in a release.
The $15 million pull in its first few days of availability is pretty impressive, considering the total was likely hampered, at least in some part, by piracy. Torrent Freak reports that in just two days, The Interview was downloaded over 1.5 million times via torrent sites.
Image via The Interview, Facebook