Sony will be providing ‘The Interview’ online today for rental ($6) or purchase ($15) in a surprise move. Those looking to get it can head to SeeTheInterview.com, and the movie is set to go live starting today at 10 AM PT, or 1 PM ET.
“[W]e reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible,” Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton explained in a press release. “We are pleased we can now join with our partners and platforms to further expand the release.”
Microsoft’s Xbox Video is the sole distribution platform that wasn’t leaked earlier today when news started emerging that Sony would indeed be offering a digital distribution strategy in line with the limited theatrical release revealed yesterday, which is still set for tomorrow, and which will see it screened in approximately 300 independent movie theaters nationwide.
Google has published an official blog post on the matter, saying that it came to Sony’s aid because it couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch freedom of speech be impacted by the threats of the hackers who initially blocked the release:
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).
Netflix is also reportedly in talks to secure streaming rights to The Interview, reports Variety, though availability on its platform would come at some later date, following the online and theater premieres happening today and tomorrow.
Stripe, which is providing the payment tech for Sony’s SeeTheInterview.com website, has also released a statement regarding its decision to participate. A selection from their official blog post follows, showing how they characterize their involvement as an endorsement of net neutrality:
We don’t always endorse what businesses sell through Stripe, but we do think it’s critical that we and our peers don’t act as gatekeepers for what is and isn’t acceptable content.