The Interview was made available for streaming online Wednesday to coincide with its limited Christmas Day theatrical release. However, it has since been labeled “culturally insensitive,” according to a new online survey.
The survey, commissioned by Variety, quizzed 700 people who reportedly watched the film and found that six out of ten of them agreed that The Interview does not portray Hollywood filmmaking or American attitudes in a positive light.
The film’s symbolic representation of freedom of expression did not improve its critical reception, with half of viewers saying they would not recommend the movie despite its anointing as the face of the movement against censorship.
Seven out of ten respondents who watched the controversial film also characterized its satirical portrayal of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “culturally insensitive.” Three in ten even said they would go so far as to actively recommend others not to watch the comedy despite the buzz surrounding its release.
When asked how they felt about the film on a 10-point differential scale labeled from “proud” to “ashamed,” 33 percent of respondents also indicated they were “ashamed” of the film. Half of respondents who said they would have recommended The Interview prior to viewing it even changed their minds after its release.
Eight out of ten viewers agree that, if The Interview been a more thoughtful and purpose-driven movie with a strong opinion towards North Korean politics, they would have been proud of the movie,” according to Jeetendr Sehdev, a celebrity brand strategist who conducted the survey.
According to the pollster, controversies typically increase celebrity interest levels between 12 percent to 31 percent. Despite those numbers, the audience’s willingness to engage with Franco and Rogen has fallen by 12 percent and 10 percent. Those numbers were indicated by a separate survey of 2,000 respondents, also conducted by Sehdev.
The film is currently scoring a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with a Critics Consensus stating: “Unfortunately overshadowed by controversy (and under-screened as a result), The Interview’s screenplay offers middling laughs bolstered by its two likable leads.”
The film was also well received by only 66 percent of the 33,975 viewers who were polled by the site.