Sony was in the midst of a full-blown marketing campaign for The Interview when it all came to a screeching halt a week ago. Faced with a slew of defections from major theater chains, the studio pulled the remaining TV ads after more than $20 million worth on TV spots had aired during the previous two weeks. (The Interview‘s TV campaign had also included ESPN promos and James Franco hosting Saturday Night Live.) Following the movie’s official cancellation, The Interview was scrubbed off social media and the streets, with the movie’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and online trailers taken down, followed by street billboards.
Fast-forward to yesterday, when Sony reversed its decision, opting to release The Interview theatrically to independent distributors, followed by today’s announcement of a VOD release on YouTube Movies, Google Play, Xbox Video and a Sony-supported website.
The news of The Interview‘s release yesterday ignited social media, and Sony is betting on that this time around. I hear there has been no effort to secure last-minute TV buys and there are no commitments made at this time, with the studio relying solely on online and social media marketing. The film’s official online presence was restored yesterday — Twitter, Facebook profiles and a trailer included.
TV ad spending already is on the decline, with online advertising steadily gaining ground. The Interview could be a test case for how studios can build awareness and get people in theaters without the promotional platform of traditional media.