'The Interview' is Google Play, YouTube's Best-Selling Title of 2014

'The Interview' (2014)

Political comedy film The Interview, which follows a TV journalist and his producer (played by James Franco and Seth Rogen) on an assignment to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been publicly denounced by North Korea and embroiled in controversy surrounding the cyber hack on Sony. The film’s release, originally slated for Christmas Day, was canceled due to threats by the hackers towards moviegoers.

The controversial Sony comedy was made available for rent and purchase on the Google sites last Wednesday

In less than a week, The Interview has become Google Play and YouTube Movies' best-selling VOD and electronic-sell-through title of 2014

The controversial comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was made available to rent or purchase on both Google platforms last Wednesday after Sony decided to proceed with a limited theatrical and VOD release of the film. The studio had canceled a wider release just one week earlier, after the top theater chains in the U.S. said they wouldn't show the film following threats of 9/11-style terrorist attacks on venues that screened the Seth Rogen  and James Franco starrer.

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In addition to Google Play and YouTube Movies, the film was available on Sony's dedicated website seetheinterview.com and via Microsoft's Xbox Video. Apple's iTunes made the film available for rent or purchase a few days later.

The movie, which cost $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy, took in $15 million in online transactions, from more than two million rentals and purchases, Sony said Sunday. While it's unknown exactly how much of this total came from Google transactions, sources told The Hollywood Reporter Sunday that the majority of the film's online sales came from Google Play and YouTube. The film, which played at roughly 300 independent theaters starting Christmas Day, also took in an estimated $2.8 million at the box office over the four-day weekend.

Read more Watch Seth Rogen Cheer On First 'Interview' Audience: "Thank You So F—ing Much"

The Interview has likely raised the profile of YouTube's 2-year-old movie rental service, which had previously mostly been used for smaller and older titles.

The film, which is Sony's biggest online film of all time, set a precedent for a major Hollywood studio with its simultaneous theatrical and online availability.