Sony Pictures Entertainment has set its streaming release plan for “The Interview” on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and its own website, http://www.seetheinterview.com, for $5.99.
The movie will be available to stream and download for U.S. users starting at 10 a.m. PT Wednesday.
The studio decided Tuesday to release the film to more than 300 U.S. theaters on Christmas. It can also be purchased in HD for $14.99.
“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. “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 nationwide today.”
The studio released the details on the streaming on Christmas Eve — a week after it had announced that it would not release the film due to threats of a terrorist attack on theaters showing the comedy. The developments to make “The Interview” available come after Lynton said in a CNN interview last Friday that no video-on-demand providers were willing to release the movie.
That apparently has changed after a groundswell of support in the U.S. for releasing “The Interview” — with President Obama praising Sony for reversing course and deciding to authorize screenings on Christmas Day. Also Tuesday, SPE restored social accounts for the movie on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms (after pulling them late last week).
“We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for ‘The Interview,'” Lynton said in Wednesday’s announcement. “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.”
Sony has been under siege since Nov. 24, when hackers struck with a massive attack. U.S. intelligence officials believe that North Korea was behind the attack.
“No doubt the issues we have confronted these last few weeks will not end with this release, but we are gratified to have stood together and confident in our future,” Lynton said. “I want to thank everyone at Sony Pictures for their dedication and perseverance through what has been an extraordinary and difficult time.”
The streaming platforms include the following:
Google Play: The movie is available to buy or rent at play.google.com, and can be watched in the Play Movies & TV app on Android and iOS phones or tablets, or streamed in the living room via Chromecast, Roku or the Nexus Player.
YouTube: The movie is available at youtube.com/movies and can be watched on the Web, in the YouTube app or on select living-room devices like Chromecast, Apple TV, PlayStation and Xbox. YouTube launched movie rentals back in 2010 — a feature of the service that many users may not even be aware of.
Microsoft’s Xbox Video: The movie is available to buy or rent on the Xbox Video app on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and XboxVideo.com.
SeetheInterview.com: In addition, “The Interview” is available at the dedicated website http://www.seetheinterview.com, which is sponsored by Sony Pictures and powered by Kernel and with payments through Stripe, a secure payment platform.
David Drummond, Google senior VP of corporate development and chief legal officer, acknowledged in a post on its official blog that “the security implications were very much at the front of our minds” during talks with Sony.
“Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day,” Drummond wrote. “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).”