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It’s well known that The Interview’s release last month was savaged by the infamous hacking of Sony studio by Guardians of the Peace. It only made it into a handful of cinemas and was instead widely released to the world online. All of this meant that Sony didn’t get the money that they thought they would from The Interview. In fact they actually lost around $30 million.
Box Office.com has now taken a long hard look at the numbers and they were able to make an educated guess regarding the losses that Sony took. According to hacked files that were acquired by the GOP, Sony ended up spending $74 million on The Interview. $44 million of this was spent on the film’s production budget, while Sony then splashed out between $30 - $40 million on marketing too. Originally Sony predicted that The Interview would take in around $25 million over its opening four days, after initially hitting 3,800 screens on Christmas Day.
They had every right to assume that The Interview would prove to be a success too. James Franco and Seth Rogen’s previous collaborations, Pineapple Express and This Is The End, proved to be hugely successful at the box office, taking in $100 million and $126 million in 2008 and 2013 respectively. Plus The Interview was also generating plenty of public attention because of the fact that North Korea threatened violence on the U.S. because of its content. At this point I’m guessing you all know what the film consisted of. But as a reminder, The Interview revolved around James Franco and Seth Rogen killing North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un.
In the end though it’s safe to say that The Interview was a bit too controversial for Sony’s liking, because a number of threats ultimately forced distributors to pull out of screening the comedy and left the studio scrambling to get it out in any form at all. In the end Sony probably would have amassed around $76 million in profit from the release of The Interview if it had gone into the thousands of cinemas they intended it to.
But it didn’t. Instead it only went in to around only 400 cinemas, where it has grossed close to $7 million. Meanwhile its VOD gross could get as high as $50 million. Sony would only take home around 60 percent of its VOD figure and 50% of its cinematic release, which means that it is at $33.5 million. Then add on around $10 million for international box office, and hardly anything for its home release, since it’s already been made available in that form, and we’re looking at a total of $46 million. That’s $30 million less than it would have received if it had made it into cinemas in the original plan.
The thing is, by this point, Sony is probably happy to have made any amount at all from The Interview. Because since Guardians of the Peace intervened, it has been one giant, mildly amusing, pain in the ass for them.