The Interview Lost Sony $30 Million?

Simultaneous day-and-date releases of movies in cinemas and on VOD or disc. Studios are keen so long as it makes money, whilst the public is more than ready for it either way. The main roadblock though? Exhibitors (ie. theater chains).

Today their organisation, the National Association of Theater Owners, has issued its first public statement about the controversial release of Sony Pictures’ “The Interview” which ultimately ditched a wide theatrical bow in favor of a limited theatrical and day-and-date VOD release following the very public controversy.

Many had hoped this film might be a bellwether test, and should it be a runaway success it might herald in a new age where simultaneous day-and-date releases of major films would become a reality. “The Interview” certainly has made a mint on VOD, but not enough to offset the loss of that theatrical rollout.

As a result NATO has issued this public statement in a column for Box-Office Magazine. Said column is effectively one, great big “I told you so,” with NATO VP Patrick Corcoran says=ing all the talk of a paradigm shift was “starry-eyed” and this “doesn’t change anything”.

In fact, he says: “In this simultaneous-release game, Sony is $30 million in the hole and almost out of cards. The only game changed here was just how much Sony left on the table.”

Corcoran then goes on to cite some very rough stats which makes some major assumptions, and ultimately comes to a $43.5 million profit figure – about the same as the film’s production cost, which means the studio is completely in the hole for the film’s $30 million spend in marketing.

It’s a fascinating piece, one coming obviously from someone who has an agenda to push, but is a testament to the fact that we’re not quite there yet when it comes to the end of theatrical exhibition as we know it.