Sony puts 'The Interview' on YouTube
Updated: 2014-12-25 13:35
A man walks by the poster for the film "The Interview" outside the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Littleton, Colorado December 23, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
LOS ANGELES - "The Interview," the provocative comedy that triggered a devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures, went straight to US consumers on Wednesday in an unprecedented online debut after hacker threats prevented its wide release on Christmas day.
The film was available for rental on Google Inc's YouTube site as of early Wednesday afternoon. Microsoft Corp and Sony itself are also showing the comedy, a day before the hastily scheduled premiere at some 320 independent theaters. Google Canada is also offering the movie.
It is not clear if the studio will earn back the $44 million it spent to make the comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as TV personalities assigned to kill DPRKn leader Kim Jong-un.
The enormous publicity "The Interview" has received could augur well for the movie, but the absence of major US movie chains as exhibitors could also severely cut into box office receipts. The chains refused to show the film owing to security concerns.
"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," Sony Entertainment Chief Executive Michael Lynton said in a statement.
He added that Sony had first reached out to Google, Microsoft "and other partners" on Dec. 17, the day the studio said it had no future plans to release the film.
The movie prompted the most destructive-ever cyberattack on a company on US soil one month ago and resulted in the release of embarrassing emails and confidential data.
US President Barack Obama last week blamed the cyberattacks on DPRK and joined a chorus of politicians and top Hollywood figures accusing Sony of self-censorship and caving into the hackers' demands.
Consumers can access the film on YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft's Xbox Video, and a dedicated website, seetheinterview.com, for $5.99 as a rental or $14.99 as a purchase. No cable or satellite TV operator has yet agreed to make "The Interview" available through video on demand (VOD).