Sony Pictures' comedy The Interview grosses more than US$1 million

Sony Pictures comedy The Interview grossed more than US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in limited release at the US box office on Dec 25, the studio said on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Sony Pictures comedy The Interview grossed more than US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in limited release at the US box office on Dec 25, the studio said on Friday. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Sony Pictures comedy The Interview grossed more than US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in limited release at the US box office on Dec 25, the studio said on Friday.

The US$44 million film was pulled from wide release after major US movie chains balked at showing the movie owing to security concerns, and it was instead shown at some 320 smaller theatres in the United States, less than 10 per cent of its planned wide release.

"Considering the incredibly challenging circumstances, we are extremely grateful to the people all over the country who came out to experience The Interview on the first day of its unconventional release," Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures president of distribution, said in a statement.

Sony Pictures had suffered a crippling cyber attack blamed on North Korea because of the movie, a raunchy comedy by Seth Rogen that depicts the fictional assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

The Interview was expected to gross at least US$20 million over the long holiday weekend if in wide release, according to Boxoffice.com.

The studio pulled the film from theatres last week after the biggest US and Canada cinema chains said they would not screen the film owing to unspecified threats made by hackers.

Sony Pictures on Tuesday gave in to public criticism that it had caved into hackers and said that it would distribute the film in limited release in independent theatres.

On Wednesday, the studio released the film online via Google's YouTube and Google Play, Microsoft Corp's Xbox gaming console and Sony's own dedicated website.

The US government has blamed Pyongyang for the attack, and President Barack Obama has vowed a proportional response.