By Liana B. Baker
Dec 28 (Reuters) - Sony Pictures said on Sunday that the "The Interview" had been purchased or rented online more than 2 million times, generating more than $15 million in the first four days after the controversial comedy's wide theatrical release was shelved.
This would rank the film, which angered North Korea and triggered a cyberattack against the studio, as the No. 1 online movie ever released by Sony Pictures, the company said in a statement.
The film has also brought in $2.8 million in the limited theatrical run that began Christmas Day in more than 300 mostly independent theaters, according to tracking firm Rentrak.
Sony is likely to reap larger receipts. The company's first online revenue figures do not include Apple's iTunes purchases or rentals after Apple agreed on Sunday to carry the movie on iTunes, the biggest and most-used store of online content.
The $44 million film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco had been expected to gross at least $20 million in its opening holiday weekend if it had gone to wide release, according to Boxoffice.com.
After large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of violence from hackers who opposed the film, Sony stitched together a limited release in theaters and a $5.99 video-on-demand (VOD) rental option on YouTube, Google Play and other sites starting Dec. 24. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Mary Milliken; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)