After a week-long international drama in which Sony decided to pull Kim Jong-un’s least favorite movie after major theater chains dropped it, declared it “dead,” then partially reversed its decision by releasing the movie to independent theaters and on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Xbox Live, and its own website, The Interview has been released without incident. Most viewers seemed to agree with The A.V. Club’s Ben Kenigsberg that it was pretty okay, overall—everybody had a few poop-and-dick-joke-related laughs, popcorn and candy were consumed, nobody got bombed by North Korea, we all walked away feeling good. Well, except for the guy who tried—and failed—to scalp $650 worth of tickets to The Interview in Cincinnati. But screw that guy.
The Alamo Drafthouse, the Texas-based theater chain that tried to screen Team America: World Police in place of The Interview, reportedly sold out its opening day screenings in Austin, and directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg introduced Cinefamily’s screening in Los Angeles:
Meanwhile, across town Deadline quoted a L.A. man whose brother-in-law was killed on 9/11 as saying, “I’m not going to have a dictator tell me what I can see and not see,” as he stood in line to see the film.
All this excitement and patriotic sentiment translated into $2.8 million in box office for the 331 theaters that screened the film, far less than The Interview probably would have made as a wide release but a triumph nonetheless. The bigger success story, however, was online, as the film topped the Google Play and YouTube online charts (Xbox Live was busy dealing with hackers of its own this weekend). Those online rentals added a reported $15 million to The Interview’s total, making it Sony’s biggest online release ever. With legal actions against Sony from ex-employees still playing out in court, this is not the end of the story, but it does provide a happy ending for the movie about the movie about killing Kim Jong-un that some screenwriter is probably working on right now.