'The Interview' Was Pirated Online About As Much As It Was Legally Purchased

Sony announced Sunday that “The Interview” was purchased or rented online over 2 million times since it premiered Dec. 24.

It also generated over $US15 million in revenue from those online sales.

But while Sony trumpeted the release as its most successful online movie ever, “The Interview” has also been pirated a lot.

According to Torrent Freak, which tracks downloads from file-sharing sites, “The Interview” was pirated about 1.5 million times in the first two days.

Part of the reason could be because Sony made it way too easy to download a version of the movie that didn’t have any piracy safeguards.

As The Verge and others reported, if you rented “The Interview” for $US5.99 from Sony’s site SeeTheInterview.com, you could share the URL and anyone could stream it without paying extra.

And viewers could simply right-click on the video to save a version without privacy safeguards called DRM. Those files were quickly added to file-sharing sites.

“The Interview” was also shown in a little over 300 independent theatres in the US, and brought in about $US3 million in box office sales. All together, “The Interview” generated about $US18 million in sales in its first weekend.

That doesn’t make the movie a success though. The major theatre chains still refuse to show “The Interview” following threats from a hacker group called Guardians of Peace (GOP), which the FBI says has ties to North Korea. (“The Interview” portrays the assassination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.)

The movie cost about $US45 million to make, and some have estimated the total cost to Sony was about $US100 million if you factor in marketing and other expenses.

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