# Maybe if journalists knew algebra, they could figue out the numbers

The online release of “The Interview” fared surprisingly well for Sony Pictures, as the company announced total revenues of \$15 million from approximately 2 million sales and rentals. The company didn’t provide a breakdown between \$15 sales and \$6 rentals, but as teacher Dan Myer pointed out, it didn’t have to—a bit of simple algebra does the job.

Here’s the equation, with x=the number of rentals (and “2,000,000 – x” = the number of sales)

6x + 15 (2,000,000-x)=15,000,000

Solving the equation, x=1.67 million rentals, which means there were 330,000 downloads.

Here’s a link to the math, via Wolfram Alpha (and Daring Fireball).

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Here is how the NYTimes reported the numbers:

“The Interview” generated roughly \$15 million in online sales and rentals during its first four days of availability, Sony Pictures said on Sunday.

Sony did not say how much of that total represented \$6 digital rentals versus \$15 sales. The studio said there were about two million transactions over all.

I guess we would never know if it were not for math. We have two variables (rentals and sales) and two equations – x+y=2,000,000 and 6(x) + 15(y)=15,000,000.

Simplifying, y=2000000-x. Substitute for y and solve for x.

But that was too much for the NYTimes stenographer.