Turns out, movie-lovers won’t even need to leave home to see the suddenly notorious movie “The Interview.” Sony Pictures will let consumers at home, or anywhere in reach of a smartphone, stream or download the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy online, starting Wednesday at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, the studio announced in a statement.
The movie will be available to stream via rental in HD on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and at SeeTheInterview.com for $5.99. Customers will also be able to download the movie for purchase for $14.99. The movie will be available only in the U.S. for now.
The move comes after the studio’s announcement on Tuesday that it would release the film to independent theaters nationwide on Christmas Day, reversing its earlier decision to pull the film from distribution.
“It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film,” Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement on Wednesday. “With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, Dec. 17, 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 nationwide today.”
Google said Sony had begun contacting a number of companies a week ago about making the film available online, Reuters reported.
"Given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds," Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote in a blog post. "But after discussing all the issues,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)."
CNN reported earlier on Wednesday that digital streaming and download discussions had been hampered by concerns over whether potential distributors would be vulnerable to cyberattacks. A deal between Sony and Apple to offer the film on iTunes reportedly broke down, as well, though CNN reported that there was still an opportunity for iTunes to offer “The Interview” after Christmas Day.
The movie, which features an assassination plot against North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, is thought to be the reason Sony Pictures was the target of a devastating cyberattack in November.