Sony's 'The Interview' surpasses $40 million in digital sales

Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:25pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Interview," the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack 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 cyber attack 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.

(Reporting by Mary Milliken; Editing by Richard Chang)

A man walks by the poster for the film "The Interview" outside the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Littleton, Colorado December 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking