The Interview is doing alright online, raking back a third of its crazy $44 million budget. It’s also Sony’s most downloaded movie ever.
“Considering the incredibly challenging circumstances, we are extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out to experience The Interview on the first day of its unconventional release,” – Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Global Distribution in a statement to The Wrap following the movie’s opening.
Sony will certainly be interested in these figures. Analysts have suggested that the company could lose billions of dollars due to the hack – something an already struggling Sony doesn’t need. It’s questionable as to how much money the movie will make online and in such a limited number of cinemas.
This figure also poses something else – what will the non-theatrical release of this major motion picture mean for the future of cinema? We’ve seen movies released to DVD/Blu-Ray and downloads sooner and sooner following their theatrical release. We’ve also seen movie studios expressing interest in cutting out cinema releases altogether in an attempt to curb piracy. So does the modestly successful online release of The Interview further compound the beliefs of those who think we should say goodbye to cinema?
Just a few days after it was reported that Apple declined streaming ‘The Interview’, Apple has just confirmed that it will indeed be offering the movie.
According to Re/code, an Apple representative informed them that the movie will be available from 1pm EST for streaming and downloading. This means that the movie will be available on many of the big streaming platforms, including iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.
Sony said that they intended to deliver the movie on a “different platform” following their decision to pull it from its Christmas Day release. The company did say that no streaming or download service had initially come forward with an offer to provide the movie, but now that’s obviously a different story. The movie did also see its cinematic release, but only in handful of venues.
During his end-of-year address, US President Barack Obama spoke about Sony’s decision to pull The Interview from cinemas following threats from hacker group Guardians of Peace. Obama considers the move “a mistake”.
“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States,” President Obama said. “If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing if they see a documentary they don’t like or news reports they don’t like. Or even worse, imagine if producers or distributors start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of someone whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. That’s not who we are. That’s not what America’s about.”
Obama also had a dig at North Korea. He quipped, “it says something interesting about North Korea that it decided to have the state mount an all-out assault against a satirical film starring Seth Rogen.”
After receiving a number of takedown requests, reddit has started banning users found to have been sharing documents from the recent Sony hack. The documents include internal documents, e-mails, video files, and employee data. Over 200 gigabytes of the 100 terabytes of stolen information has been shared on the SonyGOP subreddit. The subreddit has also been suspended.
The hack, which happened at the end of November, was perpetrated by a group calling itself ‘Guardians of Peace’. The hackers are believed to have launched the attack in protest at the forthcoming Sony-produced movie, The Interview, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco. The comedy film is about a pair of journalists, played by Rogan and Franco, who are co-opted by the US government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. ‘Guardians of Peace’ have threatened violent action against any cinema that screens the film.
In addition to petitioning reddit, Sony is also pressuring news outlets to abstain from posting details of the leaks, threatening legal action against any organisation that denies the request.