Hackers hit Sony Pictures in late November, looking to disable the company’s daily operations and convince the movie studio to stop its planned release of The Interview, a movie that has been strongly criticized by North Korea ever since being announced. Sony initially agreed to their demands, pulling the film from theaters a few days before its Christmas Day launch. But the company changed its mind after receiving harsh criticism from President Obama and several big names in the movie industry, releasing the movie in select cinemas and online with help from Microsoft and Google.
FROM EARLIER: The Interview has quickly become a top illegal download
The hackers’ plan appears to have backfired, as the increased media coverage surrounding the cyber attack brought extra attention to the movie.
According to Variety, Sony has confirmed that the comedy earned nearly $3 million in theaters and $15 million through online streaming services through the end of the day on Saturday. The movie was rented or downloaded more than 2 million times. As a result, after just four days, The Interview has already become Sony’s highest-grossing online release of all time.
The film was expected to generate $20 million during its opening, had it been released in some 3,000 theaters, as originally planned.
The Interview has been available on Google Play, YouTube and Xbox since its Christmas Eve launch, hitting Apple’s iTunes a few days later. So far, Google’s digital stores have brought in the bulk of online purchases and rentals, a person familiar with the matter said.