The news from the hack heard ’round the world is finally beginning to slow down. The leaked emails have been studied for weeks, we learned Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal needs to be more careful with the messages she sends out online, and thanks to the hacking we confirmed the news that white males still have most of the power in Hollywood.
And could there be one other thing we learned from this mess? Have studios finally realized that online distribution is the future, and that they can still make an insane amount of money from online sales? Possibly.
Sony Pictures has revealed that The Interview pulled in $15 million over the holiday weekend from online rentals and purchases in Canada and the US. According to their statement, the film was rented or purchased over 2 million times, and that number is continuing to climb as the movie is now available to rent on iTunes.
So, how much money did the film make in theaters over the weekend? Only $2.8 million, but of course it was just a limited release. There were no major theater chains showing the movie, so it’s not exactly fair to compare the two numbers. It’s likely the film would have made more than $15 million if it had a wider theatrical release.
But still, we believe this shows how successful online releases can be. If a truly terrible film can bring in over $15 million in online sales in just three days, then the potential is there for great films to bring in higher numbers. There will always be certain movies you have to watch in theaters. We get that. No one wants to watch Interstellar on their Sony 32-inch; however, there are some films that could perform better online than in theaters.
We shouldn’t be afraid of this. Theaters will always be there, but maybe it’s time we add another legal option for people who would rather stay at home and watch films like The Interview from their couch.