Sunday, May 26, 2024

“The Interview”: Was the Joke on Us? Sony Adds Another 250 Theaters, for 581 Total Plus Video


Well, was this joke on us or what? Sony is adding 250 theaters to the release of “The Interview.” That brings the total this weekend to 581.

What happened to the Guardians of Peace? The threats like “11th of September”? The end of the world? Presidential press conferences? WTF?

Was it all a game? First of all, it’s clear now that North Korea had nothing to do with this. The hacks were too personal. Sony was hacked by people who hated the executives or wanted revenge for something. If this were “NCIS” or “Law and Order,” I’d point to Daniel Loeb of Third Point. He was severely rebuffed in his takeover attempt of Sony. But Loeb, I’m sure, is too classy and smart. Still, he’d have been a great villain.

And then Sony took advantage of the hack to market the movie. They opened anyway on Christmas Day, with the most press of any film since who knows when? Not only did they go into 331 theaters, but they put the stupid comedy on 20 different platforms. They even gave it away on their own site for $5.99. And still they cleared $18 million. Another $18 mlllion this weekend and Sony is almost at break even. What happened to losing so much money? Too bad “Annie” was threatened.

When “The Interview” hits 1,000 theaters– maybe a week from Saturday– we’re all going to feel even more foolish. But maybe this is a marketing genius at play– a soon to be text book case of how to release a not very good movie and turn it into an event.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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