Sony has apparently come to a conclusion about what to do with its highly controversial comedy The Interview, which will be available for purchase online today on Google Play, YouTube, Xbox Live, and a handful of other places, the companies announced today.
Consumers can either rent or buy the movie, which will be available as of 10 a.m. PT today, according to Google’s announcement.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few weeks, you’re undoubtedly sick of hearing about the the film, which stars Seth Rogan and James Franco as journalists tasked by the U.S. government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. North Korea wasn’t too found of this plan, and according to the FBI, managed to orchestrate a cybersecurity attack on the film’s producer Sony. That in turn led to lots of sensitive Sony documents getting leaked to the public, several U.S. theaters refusing to initially show the movie, and eventually leading the company to temporarily cease plans to release it at all. But after a presidential pep talk and lots of support from the Internet, the company reversed that decision.
In addition to making the movie available today online, Sony is also releasing The Interview in a select number of theaters across the country.
Without speculating on how much of this situation might have been engineered for free publicity, it was really smart of Sony to tap multiple distributors online to sell this movie — especially since right now is probably when the public’s interest in it is at its peak. Personally, I’m curious to see how the movie fairs financially, as not many films with a multimillion dollar budget (if any at all) have seen an online release so close to its theatrical release.
If The Interview proves financially successful for Sony, I’d imagine we’ll see more online releases on controversial films going forward — and without having to combat threats from foreign leaders, too.