Sony to stream "The Interview" starting Christmas Eve on YouTube, other online platforms

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After days of “will it or won’t it?” speculation about the release of Sony Pictures’ controversial film “The Interview,” comes word the flick will stream starting Christmas Eve morning on YouTube and other online platforms.

The Associated Press broke the story Wednesday morning on Twitter (though at the time they believed the online release would happen Christmas Day.)

“As of 10:00 a.m. PST [December 24, 2014], the film will be available to rent in HD on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and the dedicated website http://www.seetheinterview.com at a price of $5.99. The film can also be purchased in HD for $14.99,” says a Sony Pictures news release published by Deadline. (All prices in USD.)

The 112-minute long Vancouver-filmed movie comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, has been embroiled in controversy following a computer hack at Sony Pictures and threats of violence from North Korea. Initially, movie theatre chains indicated they would decline to screen the feature, then Sony scrapped the release entirely.

However, yesterday, Sony said they would once again release the movie about a planned assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Christmas Day.

A leaked clip from “The Interview” shows the film’s final scene: the explosive death of the dictator.

Several U.S. movie theatres stepped up Tuesday declaring they’d show the film. With the unconfirmed reports of a YouTube streaming, it is unclear if all those theatres will move ahead with their plans. The Canadian Press reports that Sony will not release “The Interview” to theatres in Canada on Christmas Day, however. Enthusiasts who want to see it ASAP on the big screen can drive over the border to catch planned showings; CBC has a few suggestions for where to go from B.C. into Washington.

UPDATE 10:25 a.m.: YouTube in Canada is not streaming “The Interview.” We have not yet been able to verify as of yet if other platforms will make the feature available in Canada. Canadians who are already savvy about VPNs that allow access to U.S. Netflix and other otherwise unavailable online content here will certainly find that service handy if they’re looking to stream “The Interview.”

Here’s the full news release from Sony:

[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 http://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’s Xbox 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 website http://www.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 http://www.seetheinterview.com, The Interview is also being released in more than 300 United States theaters on December 25th.

Featured image: Dave (James Franco) and Aaron (Seth Rogen) in Columbia Pictures’ THE INTERVIEW.

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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