Update 12:20 p.m. EST: "The Interview" will be released at 1 p.m. Wednesday on YouTube, Google Play, and XBox video, Sony just announced.
YouTube has reached a tentative agreement with Sony Pictures to stream the film “The Interview,” reports CNN Wednesday morning, citing “sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations.”
The deal has not yet been finalized and could still fall apart, sources caution. But if it’s successful, it would be a historic one that brings the controversial movie to theaters and people’s homes at the same time. Sony announced on Tuesday that it would release the movie to about 300 independent movie theaters on Christmas Day, reversing its earlier decision pull the film from distribution from about 3,000 theaters nationwide after a devastating hack blamed on North Korea.
The potential deal with Google, which owns YouTube, would allow users to rent the movie through YouTube’s two-year-old movie rental service. But it's unlikely to be an exclusive arrangement, says CNN. Sony Pictures has reportedly been discussing options with other potential partners, as well. Sources also said that Sony had been negotiating earlier with Apple to allow the film for download through iTunes, but talks broke down. There is still a possibility for iTunes to offer the film after Christmas, however.
Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton hinted in a statement Tuesday that the studio was working to expand the film’s release options. "We are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience," said Lynton.
According to CNN, digital release discussions have been hampered by concerns about whether streaming the film would leave distributors vulnerable to hacking threats. It is widely believed that Sony Pictures internal networks were hacked in November as a result of North Korea’s anger over the film, which features a plot to assassinate the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.