Sony announced Wednesday it would cancel The Interview‘s Dec. 25 release after numerous theaters decided not to screen the film in the wake of terrorist threats.
The Interview reportedly cost around $44 million to make, according to Fusion, who cited documents leaked by the hackers targeting Sony Pictures. Meanwhile, Sony has already spent “tens of millions” on advertising and promotion, Variety reports. Remaining TV ad campaigns have been slashed, which should allow Sony to cut costs.
Still, this means Sony needs to find a way to pay off between $60 to $70 million in costs — even if the company saved a few million by nixing the ad campaigns, Deadline estimated on Wednesday. (The Wrap estimated a much higher figure — $90 million in total, accounting for the high cost of domestic and international marketing.)
Paying off those costs would have almost definitely been possible, as surveys tracking audience interest predicted The Interview would rake in $30 million in only its first four days, according to the New York Times. While $30 million is only about half of the estimated costs, if The Interview was like other successful comedy, that number would’ve risen in the successive months and years. Consider a similarly hyped film like 2009’s The Hangover: that film took in around $44 million during its opening weekend, a figure which has since risen to $277 million.