After a great deal of back and forth involving studio executives, major theater chains, the federal government, and the American public, Sony has officially released The Interview, a comedy about two reporters’ enlistment by the CIA to kill North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, to the public. Announced earlier this morning and made available less than two hours ago from the time of this writing, The Interview can be rented for $5.99 from a variety of outlets: YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video, and Sony’s own distribution website SeeTheInterview.com. There’s also an option to purchase a digital copy of the film in high definition for $14.99
In a statement to Variety, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton told people that the plans for a digital release like this one go back to the very day that the studio announced that the original theatrical release had been canceled. He said,
It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film. With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, Dec. 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible. We are pleased we can now join with our partners to offer the film nation-wide today. We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for ‘The Interview.’ It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech. We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release.
I want to thank Google and Microsoft for helping make this a reality. This release represents our commitment to our filmmakers and free speech. While we couldn’t have predicted the road this movie traveled to get to this moment, I’m proud our fight was not for nothing and that cyber-criminals were not able to silence us.
While a representative for Google pointed out that security concerns were paramount when they began discussions with Sony to become a distribution arm for this film, ultimately the desire to see the film get released in spite of the threats against it made them a willing participant, since Google has often taken issue with censorship being imposed by any party — let alone an enemy of their home country — over the internet.
In addition to the released platforms the film has already hit, Variety has also learned that Sony is in negotiations with streaming giant Netflix to begin streaming the film “within a few days.” Other major streaming services like Hulu and Amazon Instant Video have not been approached according to the report, and while a deal with Netflix would likely not begin until after tomorrow’s planned limited theatrical release, it would give the service’s 50 million-plus subscribers a chance to see a film that is certainly the talk of the entertainment and news worlds.
The Interview is now available.For more on this story as it develops, keep an eye on GeekNation!
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