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Sony claims online record for 'The Interview'

December 29, 2014

Sony has said that, despite North Korea's objections, its controversial film "The Interview" has enjoyed a record-breaking launch. Meanwhile, the firm's PlayStation Network is back online after an apparent cyberattack.

Sony The Interview posters
Image: AFP/Getty Images

Entertainment giant Sony said on Sunday that its film "The Interview" had earned some $18 million (14.8 million euros) in its opening weekend.

Sony said that since its Christmas Day release, huge online rentals and sales volume of the movie - which controversially portrays the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - made it the studio's biggest-ever online film.

"The Interview" earned $2.8 million from its limited distribution at selected theaters, the company said. However, the bulk of its revenue came from online sales totaling $15 million.

"After only four days, 'The Interview' already ranks as Sony Pictures #1 online film of all time," Sony said in a statement published Sunday, saying the film had been rented 2 million times in total.

It's thought the movie made almost as much from its limited release at selected theaters as it would have done from a full US-wide release. "The Interview" is set to generate further revenue for Sony after Apple said on Sunday that it would make the film available on iTunes.

The $44-million comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco has outraged North Korea with its controversial plot.

Cyberattack linked to launch

Randall Park
North Korea has objected to the film's plot and portrayal of Kim Jong UnImage: picture alliance/AP Photo

Over the weekend, North Korea accused US President Barack Obama of encouraging the film's limited release. The president had said that Sony was giving in to North Korean pressure when it initially cancelled the release of the film amid threats.

Sony's movie division was the victim of a cyberattack last month by hackers protesting the movie's release - which US officials said was connected to Pyongyang.

Over the weekend, Sony said its PlayStation Network was once again up and running after being brought down by a suspected cyberattack on Christmas Day.

A group of hackers called Lizard Squad - or an individual claiming to speak for it - took credit for the disruptions. So far, there is no evidence that the attack was connected to the November cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.

rc/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)