LOS ANGELES - "The Interview," the Sony Pictures comedy believed to have triggered a cyber attack on the studio, has racked up over US$40 million (S$53.5 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 Inc's Google Play, Apple Inc'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.