Sony has finally released the controversial film, centred around the assassination of North Korean leader, Kim Jung-Un, according to the New York Times.
The film, titled The Interview, will only be released online, however, with the help of the technology giants Google and Microsoft.
Among the Internet services that offered the film were the Google Play store, Google’s YouTube and Microsoft’s Xbox Video. Sony began showing the film on a website of its own, with help from the technology companies Kernel and Stripe. The film was available to rent for $6 and buy for $15.
A day earlier, Sony revealed new plans to release “The Interview” on Thursday in about 200 theaters owned by small chains or independent operators. Sony said that number had grown to about 300. In Manhattan, Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater will begin playing it on Friday.
Google and Microsoft joined what had become more a campaign to defend free speech against foreign intimidation than a business initiative. The initial theatrical retreat followed a threat — traced by the F.B.I. to the North Korean government — of 9/11-style violence against theaters that showed the lowbrow comedy.
“It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and employees by those who wanted to stop free speech,” Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Pictures, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, personally helped broker the “Interview” deal, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks were private. Senior Microsoft leaders were also quick to align. But both companies needed time to conduct an extensive assessment of their system capacities and security.
The F.B.I. and Sony’s own forensic experts briefed the technology companies on the nature of the digital intrusion on Sony so that Google and Microsoft could ensure they would not be exposed to the same problem, this person said.