Update, 9:05 a.m. — Sony confirmed that it will stream “The Interview” to multiple video platforms today. See more at the bottom of this post.
YouTube is helping Sony deliver a Christmas present to those wishing to watch “The Interview.”
CNN’s Brian Stelter reported this morning that the Google-owned streaming video website will distribute the controversial movie to viewers on Christmas Day and make it available as a rental.
The agreement, which CNN notes is “tentative,” would coincide with the handful of theaters that will show the movie on Thursday across the U.S. Sony is also reportedly in discussions with other streaming sites.
Re/code’s Peter Kafka reported that Sony will stream the video from its own site, and also distribute it through the Google Play store, in addition to YouTube.
Sony originally canceled the planned Dec. 25 premiere of “The Interview” after threats of physical violence from a hacking group that had already caused serious damage to Sony Pictures. The FBI has linked the group, which threatened movie theaters that would show the movie, to the North Korea government.
President Barack Obama later said that Sony “made a mistake” by caving to threats and shelving the film. Earlier this week, about 300 independent theaters announced that they would the show movie on Thursday as originally planned, and now it appears the flick will be streamed online, too.
Update, 9:05 a.m. PT — Sony just confirmed that it will stream “The Interview” on YouTube, Google Play, and Microsoft Xbox Video today at 10 a.m. PT.
Sony CONFIRMS: "The Interview" will be available for rental through YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft's Xbox Video, etc. TODAY. At 1pm ET.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 24, 2014
“The Interview” will cost $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to own.
If you've got a PlayStation, Xbox, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Nexus Player or…Internet access, you're good to go with #TheInterview
— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) December 24, 2014
Sony’s own site, SeeTheInterview.com, will also stream the movie. Of course, that may worry some people.
Sony has a site where you can watch The Interview for $5.99 and I can't think of a single reason not to trust them with my credit card info.
— Guy Endore-Kaiser (@GuyEndoreKaiser) December 24, 2014
“Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day,” wrote Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. “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).”
“In the United States, freedom of expression is a fundamental principle that is protected by law,” wrote Brad Smith, Microsoft’s General Counsel. “Our Constitution guarantees for each person the right to decide what books to read, what movies to watch, and even what games to play. In the 21st Century, there is no more important place for that right to be exercised than on the Internet. After substantial thought, we decided to stand up with Sony and work with others to ensure that freedom of expression triumphs over cyber-terrorism.”
Here’s Sony’s full press release:
Sony Pictures To Distribute “The Interview” Online Beginning Christmas Eve Through
Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and Dedicated Website
Film To Be Widely Available On Demand Throughout The United States
[Culver City, CA – December 24, 2014] Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that The Interview will be available online across the United States starting today, Christmas Eve.
As of 10:00 a.m. PST, the film will be available to rent in HD on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and the dedicated website www.seetheinterview.com at a price of $5.99. The film 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, December 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 nation-wide today.
“We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for The Interview. 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.
“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. I want to thank everyone at Sony Pictures for their dedication and perseverance through what has been an extraordinary and difficult time.”
Fans can watch The Interview on several platforms including:
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.
Microsoft’sXbox 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 websitewww.seetheinterview.com, which is sponsored by Sony Pictures and powered by Kernel and with payments through Stripe, a secure payment platform.In addition to Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft and www.seetheinterview.com, The Interview is also being released in more than 300 United States theaters on December 25th.