By Sahil Patel
It appears that “The Interview,” the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy at the center of the recent cyber-attack perpetrated against Sony Pictures Entertainment, will get distributed after all.
Sony has agreed to distribute the film theatrically in more than 300 independent movie theaters around the country. (No major theater chain, which the studio previously blamed as the reason it had to cancel the film’s initial wide release, are participating.)
But in what will be an important moment for those in favor of (and against) day-and-date distribution, Sony also plans to make “The Interview” available online across multiple platforms. Starting 10am PT on December 24, the studio will release the film on YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video, and via its own website. It will be available to rent for $5.99, and to purchase for $14.99.
It could also show up on Netflix in a few days, according to a report from Variety.
“It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film,” said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, in a statement. “With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft, and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible.”
“We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for ‘The Interview,’” he continued. “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.”
It’s important to note that the film industry typically does not do a day-and-date release for a studio film as big as “The Interview,” which was supposed to open on more than 3,000 screens. But as Lynton’s statement suggests, in this case, digital was the path of least resistance in getting the film out to as many people as possible.
Update: This article was updated following Sony’s official announcement about its digital plans for “The Interview.”