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The Interview rakes in $31M online, $5M in theaters

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The Interview has generated more than $31 million in video-on-demand streams for Sony Pictures, the company announced today.

The figure represents revenue from over 4.3 million transactions through Jan. 4, reports Variety. The Interview is available to rent for $5.99 and own for $14.99.

Sony said that The Interview made $15 million in digital receipts during its first four days of release, and $16 million from Dec. 28, 2014, through Jan. 4, 2015, reports CNN Money. The film was initially available through YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video and a dedicated website. Last week, Sony expanded distribution to services such as its own Video Unlimited through the PlayStation Store, and Amazon Instant Video.

Following a threat from the group that hacked Sony Pictures in late November, major theater chains such as AMC Theaters and Regal Entertainment Group declined to show The Interview on its original planned release date, Christmas Day. Once the larger chains bowed out, Sony pulled the film. One week later, on Dec. 24, Sony released The Interview online, a day prior to the film's premiere on 331 screens across the U.S. in independently owned theaters.

The Interview's box office receipts have amounted to $5 million so far. While the film expanded to 581 theaters last Friday for its second week of release, Variety reports that Sony originally intended to premiere the movie in as many as 3,000 screens nationwide for expected opening-weekend revenue of $20 million. That distribution would have been similar to other James Franco/Seth Rogen comedies such as 2008's Pineapple Express ($87.34 million total domestic gross) and 2013's This is the End ($101.47 million).

Sony Pictures reportedly spent $44 million to produce The Interview, and with total revenue of $36 million through Sunday, it looks unlikely that the company will be able to break even on the film, especially when marketing and distribution costs are factored in. However, Sony Pictures noted that The Interview is the company's top-grossing online film ever, and indeed, the digital release is a milestone for a major studio such as Sony.

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