The comedy film, “The Interview”, which has been courting controversies for showing a fictitious US plot to assassinate the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, raked in around $1 million in ticket sales Dec 25, a media report said.
The film, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen was screened at some 300 independent movie theatres around the US after Sony Pictures Entertainment had cancelled the Christmas release of the film, following a hacking attack.
“We are extremely grateful to the people (of) the country, who came out to experience ‘The Interview’ on the first day of its unconventional release,” Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s president of distribution, said Friday, according to the EFE news agency.
“The limited release featured numerous sellouts and a first day gross (of) over $1 million,” he said.
According to a CNN report, North Korea issued a statement on its official news agency Saturday, denouncing Sony’s release of the movie. It called US President Barack Obama the “chief culprit”, who forced the production company to “indiscriminately distribute” the picture.
The statement attributed to the National Defence Commission also denounced the US for blaming North Korea for the hacking attack on the moviemaker.
“If the US is to persistently insist that the hacking attack was made by the DPRK (North Korea), the US should produce evidence without fail, though belatedly,” the statement, published by the KCNA said.
The hacking attack Nov 24 had led to the theft of extensive amount of Sony employee data, for which a group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” had claimed responsibility.
Though the group did not mention the film at the time of the initial cyber attack on Sony, they subsequently warned of 9/11-type terror strikes on theatres showing “The Interview.”
Sony had cancelled the release of the film Dec 17 after major US theatre chains said they would not screen the film.
The US government had alleged that North Korea was behind the cyber attack.
The North Korean government, which was outraged by the film’s storyline, claimed to have “clear evidence” that the US government engineered the project as a “propaganda” attack against the country, according to media reports.
However, North Korea has denied being involved in the attack, which it however, termed as a “righteous deed”.
North Korea had urged US to conduct a joint investigation into the matter, which the US had subsequently rejected.
US President Barack Obama was among many people who criticised Sony for canceling the film’s release.
North Korea faced a major Internet outage earlier in the week, amid an escalating war of words between the US and North Korea over the cyber attack.
On Tuesday, several independent US theatres, including Atlanta’s Plaza Theater and the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas had said that Sony had authorised them to show the film on Christmas day.
The movie also topped sales on digital platforms like Google Play and YouTube Movies.
At the same time, according to CNN, there were at least 750,000 illegal downloads of the film on Christmas day. (IANS)