TORONTO — Sony Pictures Entertainment says “The Interview” will not be released in Canadian theatres on Christmas Day, but the controversial comedy will be available for rental on several digital platforms beginning on Wednesday.
The film, which provoked an international incident with North Korea, is set to open in about 300 American theatres on Thursday, the day it was originally set for wide release.
Sony says the movie will also be released on demand at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and a separate Sony website. It will cost $5.99 to stream.
The major multiplex chains in the U.S. and Canada dropped “The Interview” last week after hackers, allegedly backed by North Korea, threatened terrorist attacks against theatres showing the film.
“The Interview” stars Vancouver’s Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists who are recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
A Sony spokeswoman, who does not want to be named, says the company is still looking into the Canadian release of the movie.
Sony Pictures chair and CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement on Wednesday that it was always Sony’s intention to release the film on a national platform.
“Negotiations with digital providers began last Wednesday, and, as of this morning the film will be available in around 300 independently owned theatres starting Thursday,” Lynton said.
“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.”
Sony’s original decision to shelve the movie drew fierce criticism, including from President Barack Obama, who chastised the company for what he deemed “a mistake” that went against American principles of free speech.
North Korea’s Internet was shut down in an apparent attack Monday following Obama’s pledge of a response to what he called North Korea’s “cyber vandalism” of Sony.
The White House and State Department have declined to say whether the U.S. government was responsible for the outages.