C4-Wrap Poll: ‘The Interview’ Cancellation Controversy Generates Higher Viewer Interest in VOD Rentals (Exclusive)

Interest in the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy is higher than ever, according to survey conducted by C4 exclusively for TheWrap

Last Updated: December 24, 2014 @ 7:26 AM

Sony is preparing to announce a VOD release for “The Interview” and it has good reason to be excited — a survey conducted earlier this week by Vinny Bruzzese’s market research firm C4 shows that VOD interest in the controversial comedy has soared since major theater chains decided against releasing the movie.

According to the results from a survey conducted between Sunday, Dec. 21 and Monday, Dec. 22, seven out of ten moviegoers (68%) would be interested in renting the movie if Sony made it available via a video-on-demand streaming service.

On Tuesday, Sony announced the film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as a pair of bumbling journalists tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, would get a theatrical release in around 200-300 movie theaters nationwide. A day-and-date VOD release is also expected to be announced for Christmas Day.

The survey polled 591 moviegoers who see six or more movies a year.

Nearly everyone (90%) who had a prior interest in seeing the film before the hack attack led to Sony cancelling its release are still interested in seeing it. More impressively, 46% of people who said they “might or might not” have seen “The Interview” prior to the cancellation have changed their minds and are now interested in seeing the film.

“Not only is the demand to see this film still strong, many of those who may have been on the fence or initially disinterested about seeing it in theatres may provide a completely new audience for the film on VOD.”, said Ben Spergel, EVP of Consumer Insights for C4. “In addition, with all of the hype surrounding this film, there is likely an even greater urgency to see the film now than before.”

Sony initially pulled the film after hackers threatened physical violence against theaters who chose to run it.

The film being held up as a symbol of patriotism and creative freedom is an influence on some moviegoers, with 48% of respondents saying they see it as their “patriotic duty” to see the film, and an even higher number — 58% — saying they want to see the movie as a way to “send a message” to North Korea.

“In the end, taking away consumer choice in the context of a terrorist act, made the interest in this movie even greater,” said C4’s CEO Vincent Bruzzese. “No matter how Sony chooses to proceed with The Interview, the audience is out there and ready.”

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