×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix in Talks to Stream ‘The Interview’ as Starz Releases Pay TV Rights (EXCLUSIVE)

YouTube, Google Play and Xbox will also offer the Sony comedy

Netflix is in talks with Sony Pictures to make “The Interview” available for streaming by its subscribers. If a deal comes together, the movie would not be available day and date with its Christmas Day release in theaters but would likely stream on the netcaster within a few days.

Netflix declined comment. It’s understood that Sony execs screened the movie for Netflix execs in recent days.

Sony has just announced a group of online distribs that will make the movie available for rental today starting at 10 a.m. PT: Google Play, YouTube Movies, Xbox Video and the website SeetheInterview.com for $5.99, or $14.99 for an HD version.

A Netflix deal would also give the movie a broad platform to be seen by the netcaster’s 53 million global subscribers. But the prospect of a Netflix airing also raised questions about how that would impact the movie’s traditional pay TV exhibition window, as Sony Pictures has an output deal with Starz.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Starz said it made an effort to work with Sony regarding the “Interview” window because of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the cyber attack that has hobbled Sony Pictures release plan for the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy.

“As the situation with ‘The Interview’ is new territory and has been constantly evolving, Starz released the film from its output deal in order to allow Sony maximum flexibility with their distribution strategy,” a Starz spokeswoman said.

Sony is not believed to be in talks with any other SVOD service — meaning no Hulu or Amazon — for the movie.

“The Interview” has become a cause célèbre among free speech advocates after a threat from hackers linked to North Korea spurred major theater chains to back out of showing it and Sony to scrap its Dec. 25 theatrical release.

But on Monday and Tuesday, a number of indie theaters came forward with offers to screen the movie, allowing Sony to save some face and proceed with the Dec. 25 bow, albeit in about 300 theaters rather than the nearly 3,000 that had been set for the wide release, before the unprecedented cyber-attack masterminded by North Korea sent the studio and the movie’s prospects into a tailspin.

Although Sony last week denied any plans for a VOD or streaming release, the studio clearly was reaching out to potential digital partners. Sources said the outreach to Netflix and others came before word surfaced about the indie theater push.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • The Netflix logo is displayed at

    Netflix Stock Dips After Verizon Announces Disney Plus One-Year Giveaway

    Netflix investors, already skittish about the looming entry of Disney and Apple into the competitive streaming space, pushed the stock down as much as 3.5% in morning trading Tuesday. The drop came after Verizon announced a deal with Disney to offer Disney Plus for 12 months free to all unlimited wireless customers and new Fios [...]

  • Markus Stoll (Harry G), Lisa Bitter,

    Amazon Greenlights German Series Starring Comedian Markus Stoll

    Amazon Studios has greenlit a German comedy series titled “The Bedfellow” (“Der Beischläfer”) starring comedian Markus Stoll, who is popular locally for playing a funny guy named “Harry G” who satirizes life in his native Bavaria. Shooting has started in Munich on the six-part series, which is directed by  Anna-Katharina Maier (“Die Klempnerin”) and  produced [...]

  • Disney-Plus-mobile-app

    Verizon Will Give One Year of Disney Plus for Free to All Unlimited Wireless Customers

    Verizon is giving away Disney Plus — the Mouse House’s new streaming service debuting next month — free for one year to all of its wireless customers on unlimited-data plans, under a broad new partnership between the two companies. When Disney Plus launches Nov. 12, the telco will begin offering 12 months of the video-streaming [...]

  • Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay

    Discovery Launching Free Streaming Service Dplay in U.K., Ireland

    Discovery is making a free-streaming play in the U.K. and Ireland with the launch of Dplay. The ad-supported service launches this week. It will be programmed with content from Discovery’s bouquet of free-TV channels in the U.K., which include Quest, Food Network, and former UKTV brands Really and Home. The lineup of launch titles includes [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content