Almost all Christmas Day screenings of Sony’s “The Interview” have sold out at the seventeen Alamo Drafthouse locations the film is set to be distributed at. The independent cinema chain, which controls a fraction of the three hundred screens that will play the film, has started recording sellouts for showings all through the weekend.
Major chains like AMC, Regal and Carmike however are refusing to book the film due to the simultaneous VOD release, with the film currently out on four digital platforms – YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video and the dedicated seetheinterview.com.
The final result will be closely watched. Though numerous independent and even award-winning films have done the simultaneous day-and-date VOD launch before, this essentially marks the first time a major studio picture with a serious budget ($40 million) is taking the plunge.
If it works, it will give studios leverage against exhibitors to push for more VOD day-and-date releases. If it doesn’t it might delay (but not stop) the inevitable changes that mainstream theatrical film exhibition in its current form will have to undergo to survive.
Despite all the publicity, the film’s reviews have not been kind. On Rotten Tomatoes it current sits at 50% and 6.2/10, with that score having fallen as the number of reviews increase. On Metacritic it stands at 52/100.