‘The Interview’ Loses Potentially $4.4M to Piracy Giving Indication of Streaming Revenue Op
There’s no doubt that “The Interview,” the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy about assassinating the leader of North Korea, is one of — if not the biggest — stories of 2014, after distributor Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace. And that popularity is certainly translating. After only two days, The Interview has brought in over $1M at the domestic box office, as reported by CNN, from a limited theatrical release, but digitally the film has also been ravaged by piracy, losing roughly $4.4 million from over 750K illegal downloads (as estimated based on the $5.99 rental and not the $14.99 purchase price).
While viewership numbers from its streaming homes on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox and its own site have not yet been revealed, “The Interview” has landed atop YouTube’s Popular Page as well as Google Play’s movies section, a good indicator that the film is reaching critical mass.
And, for a film that less than a week ago had zero distribution, this is quite the turn of events. If, and I’d venture to say it’s likely, more people have purchased “The Interview” than pirated it, then it’s likely the film is generating substantially higher revenues than it has at the box office.
It’s also worth noting that these piracy numbers are unsurprising as currently “The Interview” is only available, legally, in the US. With the global attention this film has received due to the cyber-attack and the temporary cancelation, it’s likely that a lot of users outside of America wanted to see the film that’s been at the center of the controversy.
While there have been opposing views on the Day and Date strategy of releasing a film digitally in sync with a theatrical release, but “The Interview” may just have given the nudge necessary to make this a more popular model in 2015.