Box Office: 'The Interview' Earns Another 725K Friday

The Interview Still 2 - H 2014
Ed Araquel

The Interview Still 2 - H 2014

Sony's controversial comedy is playing in 331 independent cinemas across the country

The Interview dipped roughly 33 percent on Friday to $725,000, putting the R-rated comedy on course for a four-day debut of $2.8 million at the U.S. box office.

As expected, the high-profile movie — starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as two bumbling journalists hired by the CIA to assassinate North Korean president Kim Jong Un saw a big decline from Christmas Day, when it opened to $1 million in 331 independent theaters across the country as part of a last-minute rescue plan by Sony.

Nevertheless, the controversial movie fell less than expected, thanks in part to a strong showing late Friday night, and a continued sense that seeing the movie equates to patriotism.

Sony had pulled The Interview from its Dec. 25 nationwide release after the group behind the unprecedented hack attack of the studio threatened theaters. However, after President Barack Obama criticized the film company for caving, Sony chairman Michael Lynton announced Dec. 23 it would release The Interview in select theaters and online (the major chains are refusing to carry the movie because of the day-and-date release).

Read more 'The Interview': Which Theaters Are Showing the Film on Christmas Day

"We totally accomplished what we set out to do in terms of getting the film in front of audiences in several formats," Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer told THR Saturday. "Word of mouth has been really terrific, and people love this movie."

In its new incarnation, The Interview wasn't destined to be a big grosser in theaters, considering its limited footprint and the fact that it is available digitally. It also has been pirated around the world — as well as igniting a geopolitical feud.

On Saturday, the North Korean government, which has been linked to the hacking of Sony, called Obama a "monkey" and blamed him for the release of The Interview.

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unidentified spokesman at the commission's Policy Department said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea also blamed the U.S. for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the Sony film.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.