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The Interview's rocky road to distribution has finally come to somewhat of an end, thanks to the limited theatrical and VOD platform that Sony has engaged in to bring the film to the American public. Of course, it has potentially opened up a whole new can of worms in the relationship between Sony - which is just trying to capture the momentum of the public consciousness in an effort to recoup the investment they made in the film; and the major theater chains, who have been out of the limited release. It will be interesting to see how the platform works out for the studio, but certainly not helping anything is the large number of people who are illegally downloading the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy.
As of 9am EST this morning, Variety has reported that 430,000 high-quality, pirated copies of The Interview have been downloaded from online sites. The reasoning behind the large number is the fact that the kerfuffle raised by the Guardians Of Peace has left the worldwide community interested in seeing just why this film has been considered by some to be an act of terrorism. Not to mention, Seth Rogen and James Franco are pretty big deals at this point, so even without the controversy this film has been tipped as a big ticket.
Of course, this surge in piracy probably shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, as people were already trying to download The Interview for a good amount of time now. Considering how big the leak at Sony Pictures Entertainment was, it was a huge surprise that no copies of The Interview went missing, even if the GOP didn't want the film to get out into the public. In fact, you think that the Guardians Of Peace would have leaked the film the first chance they got, just so that Sony would have been hit where they'd feel it the most: the pocketbook. Yes, the hackers thought the film was an act of terrorism, but if they really wanted to hurt the studio that's already ailing from some high profile losses this year, you'd think they would have leaked something more valuable than Annie to the internet.
Despite the number of illegal viewings of The Interview, there's still should be a massive interest in the theatrical experience for this film. Frankly, it is in the opinion of this author that The Interview should be enjoyed in as big of a crowd as possible. It's nice that Sony offered the film on same day VOD to quench the thirst of the audience that can't make it to one of 300 movie houses that are showing the film nationwide, but the fact is that this movie was never really intended to be a small, limited release. Not only is it always great to watch a funny comedy with a crowd of laughing movie-goers, but one can imagine there will also be a certain patriotic energy surging through cinemas.