While some were surprise at the irrational exuberance of many Americans to declare their undying patriotism by going to see what otherwise would have been an epic flop, The Interview has hardly generated “patriotic profits” in the box office. According to CNN, “The Interview” banked $1 million at the box office on Christmas Day, and it could make a couple million more over the long holiday weekend. “The audience reaction was fantastic — the limited release, in under 10% of the amount of theaters originally planned, featured numerous sellouts and a first-day gross over $1 million,” Sony Pictures worldwide distribution president Rory Bruer said in a statement. So had the release proceeded according to schedule, the gross would have been $10 million? And that is with all the endless media euphoria surrounding it.
Bruer nodded to the “incredibly challenging circumstances” around the release and said “we are extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out to experience ‘The Interview’ on the first day” it was in theaters.
Recall, however, that the main distribution channel was not theaters but online streaming, and while the results are not yet known, if one million people rented it through YouTube, that would generate $6 million in proceeds for the $5.99 rental comedy. The movie was also made available on Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox video store and a special Sony web site called SeeTheInterview.com.
And yet, somehow we doubt that online distribution will be very profitable either. The reason: as BNO reported earlier today The Interview has been downloaded more than one million times on BitTorrent alone within 48 hours of its release.
Because while Americans were delighted at the optionality of not seeing The Interview, the rest of the world had no such (lack of) choice. So they too matters into their own hands:
Many people outside the United States were left disappointed when it turned out that on-demand services such as YouTube and Xbox Video would only cater to Americans, prompting those elsewhere to seek pirated copies.
“Unfortunately, this free speech can only be heard by the U.S. public for now. People outside of the States will have to wait for weeks or months to see a film that was ‘trending’ worldwide on Christmas eve,” said Ernesto, the founder of news website TorrentFreak. “And that’s where another group of self-proclaimed freedom fighters come in.”
The first copy of “The Interview” appeared on KickassTorrents about two hours after Wednesday’s digital release and was quickly downloaded thousands of times, surpassing more than 500,000 downloads on Christmas Day and reaching one million downloads by Friday morning.
Statistics collected by BNO News from KickassTorrents (KAT), which is now the world’s most popular website to download torrents, showed that the number of downloads for “The Interview” surpassed 1 million on early Friday. The tally includes copies which were later deleted due to copyright infringement claims but does not include downloads through other file-sharing services.
The figure puts “The Interview” on track to become one of the most pirated movies of the year.
Somehow we doubt that North Korea will be blamed for that as well.