'The Interview' Google Play, YouTube's Most Popular (Pay) Video


The Interview
, the Seth Rogen and James Franco vehicle about two American celebrities sent to North Korea to assassinate its leader, Kim Jong-Un, is now the most popular pay-to-play on Google Play and YouTube, The Verge reports.

The film originally was slated for a mass-marked, Christmas Day release, until Sony Pictures Entertainment, which produced The Interview, was hacked Nov. 24 by a group, Guardians of Peace, that has ties to North Korea, demanding that the film be shelved. Sony initially acceded to GoP's demands, but ultimately released it Dec. 25 in 331 small and independent theaters, including the Village Cinema in Meridian, as well as on pay-to-play sites like Google Play and YouTube.

According to The Verge, The Interview is thought to have raked in $1 million in ticket stubs—well below the top earners Unbroken ($15.6 million), Into the Woods ($13.6 million) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ($12.7 million). 

The Interview's online earnings were likely hurt by piracy, as YouTube users who paid $5.99 to see the film on their computers for two days could copy and paste its URL to share it with friends. Variety reports that it has been downloaded by approximately 900,000 torrent users around the world.