Sony Pictures Entertainment said on Tuesday (January 6) that more than 4.3m people have rented or purchased the controversial comedy online and via cable, satellite or telcom providers from December 24-January 4.

The $31m gross is a far better reflection of the film’s appeal than that presented by theatrical revenues, which have generated $5m from a maximum of 581 sites since December 25.

Separately, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton sent a memo to studio staff in which he said of The Interview: “Throughout this whole process, we never stopped – not for a single moment – trying to secure a broad release.

“Our studio takes great pride in continuing to grow the release of this movie and making it a success. I am so proud of the teams that worked long hours through the holiday break to make this a reality, and for the positive response from the public.”

On December 17 after it cancelled the scheduled wide release of The Interview the studio issued a statement that read: “Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film.”