LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "The Interview" is not making a good first impression on those who watched the controversial movie in its first 24 hours of release, according to a new online survey conducted Thursday morning.
Seven out of 10 Americans characterized this cinematic satire of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as "culturally insensitive." Six out of 10 agreed that "The Interview" does not represent Hollywood filmmaking or American attitudes positively.
Commissioned by Variety, the quickie survey of 700 people who reported having watched the movie was conducted by celebrity brand strategist Jeetendr Sehdev.
The findings add a new dimension to the reception for a film that, prior to its Christmas Eve debut online, was receiving widespread support of its release, citing concerns over free speech.
Asked how they felt about the film on a 10-point differential scale labelled from "proud" to "ashamed," 33% responded in the "ashamed" range of numbers.
Eight in 10 people agree that had "'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 Sehdev.
Half of those who said they would recommend watching the movie prior to its release changed their minds after watching the movie.
Turns out becoming a symbol of freedom of expression didn't hold up for the movie for those watched it. Half of them would not recommend the movie, despite the associated freedom of speech message. Three in 10 Americans said they would go so far as to actively recommend others not to watch the film despite the controversy.
Not even "The Interview" stars emerged from the movie unscathed. Though controversies typically increase celebrity interest levels between 12%-31%, according to Sehdev, the audience's willingness to engage with James Franco and Seth Rogen have fallen by 12% and 10%, respectively. Those numbers were gauged by a bigger survey from Sehdev of 2,000 respondents.
"The Interview" has received mixed reviews from critics, currently scoring a 49% on Rotten Tomatoes.