If "The Interview" Was in Fact a Ploy, It Was the Dumbest Ploy of All Time

December 26th 2014

Mike Vainisi

Well, The Interview made it after all. A lot has happened since the controversy first started. A primer is here.

The Interview

It made some money at home and in theaters

At the box office, The Interview grossed about $1 million -- not at all a big opening for a comedy with two movie stars like Seth Rogen and James Franco -- but still not bad considering the film was only shown in 330 theaters nationwide. That's just 10% of the theaters initially scheduled to exhibit the film.

The Interview fared well on the internet, where it was the top seller yesterday on YouTube and Google Play. (Google did not release sale numbers.) The film is also available through Xbox Live and Sony's website.

While we don't know how much the movie has made online, it's a virtual certainty that The Interview will be a big loss for Sony. The movie cost $44 million to make and another $35 million to market, according to the New York Times. Further, the hack has damaged the company's reputation after damaging leaked emails showed executives making jokes about President Obama's race.

Yet, there are people who believe the whole thing was a conspiracy set up by Sony to grab attention for the movie. It would have to be the dumbest conspiracy of all time.

Seth Rogen speaks

Last night, Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who co-wrote the movie with Rogen, surprised fans at a late-night screening in Los Angeles.

Rogen told the audience that it was "super fucking exciting" that people came out to see the film.

Pirates like it, too!

More than 750,000 people have illegally downloaded The Interview, according to Torrent Freak, which also reported that there were 200,000 views in the first 10 hours after the film was available online.

The Interview has not been officially released outside of the US and Canada, which meant that international viewers had to find an illegal source. Interestingly, according to Reuters, the film has been downloaded over 300,000 times in China, which is North Korea's only major ally. The film has also been downloaded in South Korea, a country that technically has been at war with North Korea for more than 50 years.

So what happens next?

Stage One: I don't want to watch The Interview.

Stage Two: I can't watch The Interview?

Stage Three: I must watch The Interview!

Stage Four: Oh, I can watch The Interview now?

Stage Five: I don't want to watch The Interview.

-- Will Leitch (Deadspin)

Almost all of the film's attention has been rooted in the hacking controversy and the ethical questions it raised as well as the back-and-forth between Sony and the White House. Now, with the movie released, observers in the US will be looking at how it performs as a rare, first-run internet release. They'll also be watching to see if the hack changes behavior in Hollywood.

There were be geopolitical effects as well. Hundreds of thousands have now seen this movie in China and South Korea. And it's not hard to imagine the movie squeezing its way into North Korea.

“The biggest headache for [North Korean dictator] Kim [Jung-un] is that a memory stick the size of a fingertip can now go into the country carrying a dozen foreign-made films,” Seo Jeong Nam, a South Korean film professor, told Bloomberg. “North Koreans watching films smuggled from China has become an irreversible trend and it undercuts the cult of personality Kim needs desperately to consolidate his power.”