“The Interview” is showing after all — everywhere. And it didn’t even have to wait for Christmas Day.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, which drew widespread criticism for canceling the theatrical release because of threats from hackers, completed a stunning reversal Wednesday and made the movie available for online streaming.
Sony had already allowed theaters to show the movie beginning on Thursday. By Wednesday afternoon, it was renting for $5.99 on Google Play, YouTube and Microsoft Xbox, and through a dedicated website.
In a blog post, David Drummond, the chief legal officer for Google, said the security concerns were “very much at the front of our minds.”
“But after discussing all the issues, Sony said 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),” he wrote.
“The Interview” is a Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy about a plot to kill the North Korean dictator.
Hackers humiliated Sony by hacking into its computer system and gaining access to the personal information of employees and to embarrassing emails sent by executives. The FBI later blamed the North Korean government for the hack.
The hackers also threatened an attack on the scale of Sept. 11 against theaters that showed it. When movie theaters took a pass, Sony canceled the release. Hollywood stars and even President Barack Obama called it a mistake.