Sony decided to make the movie available simultaneously in a limited theatre release as well as online. “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, in a statement.
“With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17, 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.”
According to the official Google blog “Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, “The Interview,” available online. We’d had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.
“Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. 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 US, and also in Canada, people can now see The Interview on Google Play, YouTube Movies, on Xbox Video and on the website www.seetheinterview.com for $5.99 as a rental or $14.99 as an electronic download. However, the movie is not available anywhere else in the world, resulting in record numbers of illegal downloads.
According to TorrenTreak, within hours torrents started to appear on various sites with more than 200,000 people having downloaded the movie within hours of its US online release. The most current estimate is now over 750,0000 downloads within 24 hours.
Interestingly, the move is not (yet) available on any of Sony’s own stream sites. According to unconfirmed US reports, Netflix is also in talks to release the movie to its subscribers.