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'The Interview' is a hit with media pirates

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Posted at 7:19 AM, Dec 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-26 10:59:21-05

Big hype for the online and indie theater release of "The Interivew" hasn't yet been met with glowing reviews, but statistics show the film is a hit with users of file-sharing bit torrents.

One monitor of torrent traffic, TorrentFreak.com, says the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy was downloaded more than 200,000 times in the first 10 hours and had reached 750,000 downloads in 20 hours.

Variety magazine cites "piracy-tracking firm Excipio" in reporting even higher numbers. They say that more than 904,000 clients worldwide had downloaded the film as of Thursday afternoon -- 72 percent of whom were outside of the United States.

The Sony Pictures Entertainment film is premised on a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It was originally slated for a theatrical release on Christmas Day, but the plans were changed after hackers broke into Sony's systems, leaked information and then threatened theaters that would show the film.

North Korea was behind the hack, the FBI said.

But several days after pulling the film from the planned release, the studio decided to allow it to be shown in a few hundred indie theaters and purchased or rented online through several streaming services. 

MORE | Coverage of the Sony hacking situation