The Imitation Game: The Interview’s Simultaneous Release Doesn’t Change Anything

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My latest column for Boxoffice.

Many industry analysts noted exhibition’s oft-stated resistance to simultaneous release, pointing to the DirecTV early premium video-on-demand plan in 2011 and the canceled Tower Heist plan to offer the movie on VOD three weeks after its theatrical debut for $59.99. Several major exhibition companies announced that they would not play the movie under those circumstances, and Universal shelved the plan.

What happened when Sony announced it would be offering The Interview simultaneously in the home to accompany its Christmas theatrical release? Several major exhibition companies announced they would not play it under those circumstances. The movie played on 331 screens in its opening week–roughly the same number that were willing to play other, less well-known simultaneous releases.

Game not changed.