Sony announced Sunday that The Interview was purchased or rented online over 2 million times since it premiered Dec. 24. It also generated over $15 million in revenue from those online sales. But while Sony trumpeted the release as its most successful online movie ever, The Interview has also been pirated a lot. According to Torrent Freak, which tracks downloads from file-sharing sites, The Interview was pirated about 1.5 million times in the first two days.
Part of the reason could be because Sony made it way too easy to download a version of the movie that didn’t have any piracy safeguards. As The Verge and others reported, if you rented The Interview for $5.99 from Sony’s site SeeTheInterview.com, you could share the URL and anyone could stream it without paying extra.
And viewers could simply right-click on the video to save a version without privacy safeguards called DRM. Those files were quickly added to file-sharing sites.
The Interview was also shown in a little over 300 independent theaters in the US, and brought in about $3 million in box office sales. All together, The Interview generated about $18 million in sales in its first weekend.
That doesn’t make the movie a success, though. The major theater chains still refuse to show The Interview following threats from a hacker group called Guardians of Peace (GOP), which the FBI says has ties to North Korea. (The Interview portrays the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un.)
The movie cost about $45 million to make, and some have estimated the total cost to Sony was about $100 million if you factor in marketing and other expenses.
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