The Interview itself may not be an amazing film, but it made history. It became the first movie pushed out of major theaters by terrorist threats, and it landed on VOD to potentially change how Hollywood uses the home platform. Previously, VOD is where studios sent low-budget material like indies and B-movies, but The Interview cost $44 million, and now Deadline reports that the comedy has earned $31 million from “4.3 million transactions from film rentals and sales between December 24 and January 4.” That’s more than six times its limited theatrical release, which has so far pulled in $5 million.
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According to Deadline, the numbers for The Interview far surpass previous VOD hits Snowpiercer ($8.2 million), Arbitrage ($14 million), and Margin Call ($8 million). Granted, these three films didn’t have the benefit of nationwide controversy where even the President said that the studio should release the film. The Interview was released under a unique set of circumstances that won’t be repeated. However, the results of the VOD release must have other studios intrigued.
We’ll never know how well The Interview would have done under its originally planned wide release. Would it have been a successful bit of Christmas counter-programming against Unbroken and Into the Woods? Would the controversy have put more people in theaters? There’s no way to know, and while it’s an exciting prospect that The Interview could be a game-changer with regards to VOD, it’s a game studios may still struggle to play for the time being.
Personally, I’m curious to see how VOD develops. I feel comedy is best viewed with a crowd, but plenty of people were happy to stay home with their friends and rent or buy The Interview. They also saved a lot of time and money by doing so. Perhaps the mid-budget film has found a new home and the multiplex will now belong solely to the blockbuster.
I’m not sure how I feel about that future. Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.