- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sony will stream “The Interview” for rental on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox and its own website, SeeTheInterview.com, starting Wednesday afternoon.

Beginning at 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve, viewers can rent the movie online for $5.99 or buy it for $14.99, Sony executives said in a statement.

The groundbreaking release follows major movie theater chains decision to drop the film’s Christmas Day release after North Korean cyberattackers threatened violence against moviegoers viewing the comedy flick that centers on a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In a statement on Thursday, Google said it had been approached by Sony last Wednesday to work out a deal to distribute the film online.

While execs had hoped something else would happen to make the film available for viewing, ultimately Google decided it “could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be),” David Drummond, Google’s senior vice president of Corporate Development and chief legal officer wrote in the statement.

The film will be shown in roughly 300 independent movie theaters across the country on Christmas day and dozens of other theaters will debut the movie on Jan. 1 or 2. Most major theater chains opted not to show the film on its Christmas release date after hackers issued threats against theaters and moviegoers.

The film’s limited release has generated substantial demand, according to fan website Moviepilot, and an online release would immediately increase supply.

Netflix is also in talks with Sony to stream the film for its subscribers, although the movie would not be available for a few days after it’s intended Christmas release date, Variety reported.

YouTube has already released several smaller films for rental on its website, but “The Interview” would be its biggest release yet, CNN reported.

Sony originally cancelled the release of the film after the hack, which garnered the company widespread backlash, including from President Obama, who said the studio made a mistake in bowing to North Korean pressure.



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