"The Interview", the controversial political satire by Sony Pictures starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, managed to rake in $18 million in its opening weekend alone.
Of the $18 million, "the Interview" made $15 million off online sales as the movie was rented or purchased online more than 2 million times on the first four days through Saturday, Sony Pictures revealed.
"The Interview" is now Sony Pictures' highest grossing online movie of all times. The film hit several theaters across the United States on Christmas Day and managed to make $1 million on its debut day.
"That is a huge number. This is almost what it was going to do theatrically before it was pulled. It made about what people expected, but in a completely different way," Jeff Bock, a box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, told Reuters.
Sony Pictures had initially decided to pull the movie's release after it received terrorist threats from the hacker group that has been exposing the studio's crucial confidential data after it breached cyber security at the Hollywood company.
However, after the world expressed its angst over Sony Pictures' decision to pull the movie and after receiving enough assurance from the US President Barack Obama, Sony finally decided to release "The Interview."
On Christmas, Sony Pictures didn't just authorise a nation-wide release but also put it out on the internet on websites like YouTube and Google Play.
"The Interview" took $44 million to make, excluding the cost of marketing. While the box office numbers are impressive, it definitely would have made more if it released at more theaters. It's unconventional method of release has hampered its earning.
However, Sony is glad it got to release the movie.
"The number one priority of our unconventional release was to give people the chance to see "The Interview." We are very pleased with how it is doing both theatrically where we are seeing numerous sell-outs across the country, and online where it remains at the top of many charts," Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures said in a statement.
Sony has already been hit with massive security and litigation costs. Experts say the expenses cold go up to $200 million.