LOS ANGELES – “The Interview,” the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyberattack on the studio, has racked up over $40 million in sales from 5.8 million digital downloads, the studio said on Tuesday.
Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Corp.’s entertainment arm, called the $40 million mark “a significant milestone” for the studio’s unprecedented online and pay television release, on platforms such as Google Inc.’s Google Play, Apple Inc.’s iTunes and Time Warner Cable .
The film’s digital release on Dec. 24 was cobbled together a week after Sony Pictures shelved a wide release when major theater chains refused to screen the movie due to unspecified threats of violence from hackers. President Barack Obama called the decision to scrap the theatrical release a “mistake” akin to self-censorship.
The film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, has also earned $6 million at the box office after independent theaters pushed for a limited release on Christmas Day.
It was unclear if Sony Pictures would recoup its investment in the comedy, which cost $44 million to make and tens of millions more to market.
The U.S. government has blamed North Korea for the most devastating cyberattack on a private company on U.S. soil. The North Korean government called “The Interview” an “act of war,” but denies it is behind the hacking.