In an abrupt turnaround, Sony Pictures Entertainment released its controversial film “The Interview” on a number of streaming sites at 10am Pacific Time this morning. The film is now available as a paid rental on YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Video and a Stripe-affiliated site called seetheinterview.com. Renting the film will set you back $5.99; many sites will also sell it to you for $14.99.
The online release follows the epic hack of Sony’s internal computer system, after which the cybercriminals widely disseminated embarrassing emails, personnel records and other documents. The FBI recently concluded that North Korea was behind the attack, although some security experts remain skeptical.
“The Interview” caused a furor because the hackers echoed North Korean denunciations of the film, which depicts a fictional assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un. The hackers also threatened unspecified violence if Sony released the movie on Christmas Day as planned, after which several major theater chains backed away from the film, leading Sony to cancel its release.
After a public outcry over Sony’s apparent willingness to cave to vague threats, the studio began to reverse course. It first agreed to a limited theatrical release and is now making “The Interview” widely available online.
One place you won’t find the movie is iTunes. The New York Times reports that Apple was not interested in making the movie available on such a short timetable.
“Sony and Google agreed that we 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),” said Google chief legal officer David Drummond in the company’s blog announcement.
Lead image courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment