Sony's The Interview surpasses $50 million in digital sales

A woman looks at the Google Play purchase page for the Sony film The Interview, in Washington DC, on Dec 24, 2014. The Interview, the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack on the studio, has racked up over US$40 million (S$53
A woman looks at the Google Play purchase page for the Sony film The Interview, in Washington DC, on Dec 24, 2014. The Interview, the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack on the studio, has racked up over US$40 million (S$53 million) in sales from 5.8 million digital downloads, the studio said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The Interview, the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack on the studio, has racked up over US$40 million (S$53 million) in sales from 5.8 million digital downloads, the studio said on Tuesday.

Michael Lynton, chief executive of Sony Corp's entertainment arm, called the US$40 million mark "a significant milestone" for the studio's unprecedented online and pay television release, on platforms such as Google Play, Apple's iTunes and Time Warner Cable.

The film's digital release on Dec 24 was cobbled together a week after Sony Pictures shelved a wide release when major theatre chains refused to screen the movie due to unspecified threats of violence from hackers.

President Barack Obama called the decision to scrap the theatrical release a "mistake" akin to self-censorship.

The film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which depicts the fictional assassination of North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, has also earned US$6 million at the box office after independent theatres pushed for a limited release on Christmas Day.

It was unclear if Sony Pictures would recoup its investment in the comedy, which cost US$44 million to make and tens of millions more to market.

The US government has blamed North Korea for the most devastating cyber attack on a private company on US soil.

The North Korean government called The Interview an "act of war," but denies it is behind the hacking.