Much has been written and said about The Interview after Sony Pictures got hacked but now we have the first hard sales data. The Interview has made more money online than in cinemas, proving that there is another way than Hollywood’s "release windows" model.
15 million online - without iTunes
Movies usually get released in cinemas first, then for sale and rent, and then on TV and subscription services. This is called the "windows" model. Netflix is trying to break that model by releasing movies on Netflix and in cinemas simultaneously, and Sony Pictures has also been forced to try new things after it got hacked.
The Interview is one of the first big movies that has been released online and in cinemas on the same day. The cinema debut of The Interview was limited to only around 331 theatres of the planned 3000 but it is still interesting to note that it made more more online than in cinemas ($15m vs $2.85m) from December 24-27.
However, the online release was also limited the a few partners. The Interview was initially offered by Google Play Movies, YouTube Movies, and Xbox online, and was added to iTunes on December 28th. iTunes sales numbers are therefore not included in the $15 million dollar figure.
The movie was rented or purchased more than 2 million times from December 24-27, which makes it Sony’s most succesful online release in history. Snowpiercer was released under the same model and earned $7 million online.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, The Interview marks the first big battle lost for theater chains. The Interview shows us that it is possible to release movies online in 2014.