After weeks of rumors and speculation, it appears that “The Interview” will have a theatrical release on Christmas Day, while an online release of the film is available now for rent or purchase.
In a press release this morning, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that it would be releasing the film via Google Play, YouTube and Xbox Video at 10 a.m PST and 1 p.m ET. In addition, the movie can be streamed online at SeeTheInterview.com, a website Sony created for the distribution of the film. Renting “The Interview” will cost $5.99, while purchasing the film will cost $14.99.
The Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy, whose release was canceled after a hacker group with alleged ties to North Korea threatened “terror” and “doom” on theaters showing the the film, will be playing at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley at 12 p.m, 2:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 7:15 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Thursday. Showtimes are expected to sell out, so purchasing tickets in advance is advised.
Rialto Cinemas will reportedly be one of the first theaters to screen the film since its cancellation. The New Parkway Theater in Oakland is also planning to show the feature at 11:30 p.m., while other locations in the East Bay are reporting afternoon releases, including the Contra Costa Cinema in Martinez, California, which will begin showing “The Interview” at 12 p.m.
The decision to show the film has been left to theater owners and operators. For the most part, the select screenings are being held at independently run venues, while bigger names are still hesitant to screen the controversial film. AMC and Regal –– two major companies whose decisions not to release “The Interview” left Sony in a scramble –– have yet to add the film to their Christmas roster, but Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton remains hopeful.
In a public statement, Lynton said, “We are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
In his end-of-the-year press conference Friday, President Barack Obama advised companies not to “get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal acts” and said he felt that Sony’s previous decision to cancel the release of “The Interview” was “a mistake.”
Releasing the film might be a first step in damage control for Sony and its executive producers, many of whom faced ridicule for the contents of leaked emails and employee information. The mega corporation is already battling two lawsuits from employees for alledgedly failing to provide adequate data protection, while co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal has met with Rev. Al Sharpton to dissipate public outrage after emails containing racially charged messages were uncovered in the data breech.
The emails, which were between Pascal and producer Scott Rudin, contained guesses as to what movies President Barack Obama favors and included such films as “12 Years a Slave” and “Django Unchained.” Both Pascal and Rudin have since publicly apologized for the emails.
On Tuesday, Seth Rogen tweeted his excitement for the release, writing “The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn’t give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!” Co-star James Franco echoed the sentiment, tweeting “VICTORY!!!!!!!
The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!! SONY to release THE INTERVIEW in theaters.”
Indeed, for Rogen and Franco fans, Christmas might now be a little merrier. Sony announced earlier today that over 200 theaters across the nation have agreed to screen the film. Check out a review of the comedy here.
Gillian Edevane is the arts editor. Contact her at [email protected].