The catastrophic cyber-attack on Sony Pictures which led to the near-cancellation of The Interview caused less financial damage than first feared.

Detailed in its third-quarter financial results, Sony set aside just $15m for "investigation and remedial costs" connected to the hack; the company's Sony Pictures division made a small estimated operating profit of 2.4bn yen (£13.4m).

The results are only estimates for now because the attack, believed by the FBI to have been the work of North Korea, took out much of the company's accounting equipment when it struck in November 2014.

Sony acknowledges the hack in its financial results forecast as "a serious disruption of its network and IT infrastructure...[and] as a result, Sony Pictures Entertainment was unable to close its financial statements for the third quarter within a timeframe that would have permitted reporting of actual results".

The amount spent by Sony Pictures on costs incurred by the hack is the same as the $15m The Interview earned in downloads during its opening weekend. After being briefly cancelled due to fears over attacks on cinemas screening it, the film was released on Christmas Eve, a day earlier than originally planned.

Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, the comedy sees North Korean leader Kim Jong un assassinated, a scene which sparked anger in the country. The hack led to the leaking of numerous emails and financial documents

The FBI blamed the attack on North Korea, saying it was "intended to inflict significant harm on a US business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves."

President Barrack Obama then criticised Sony for their decision, saying they had "made a mistake" in caving to the demands of the cyber-terrorists.

The rest of Sony's Q3 results included an operating profit of 178.3 billion yen (£1bn), up 100% from last year, while sales rose 6% to 2.56 trillion yen.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had on average predicted an operating profit of 96.6bn yen on sales of 2.38tn yen.

Sony expects sales of its Xperia smartphones and tablets to be below what the company had previously forecast in October; this was blamed on "an expected decrease in unit sales of smartphones mainly in the Asia Pacific region."