The comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco and depicts the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will now be screened on major cable, telecom and satellite TV video-on-demand services in the US, with some providers offering the film from Wednesday. The number of independent cinemas screening the film will also increase to over 580 by Friday, the company said in a statement.
The Guardian understands that Sony executives have not yet made a decision on The Interview’s international release schedule, but an announcement is likely in the early new year. According to the film database site IMDB, The Interview is still due to be released in Australia on 22 January and had previously been scheduled for 6 February in the UK.
The Hollywood studio was the subject of a huge computer hack with the cyber-terrorist group Guardians of Peace(GOP) demanding The Interview be dropped from release. Sony capitulated to the demands after five of the largest cinema chains in the US pulled Christmas day screenings of the film, following threats published by GOP aimed at cinemagoers.
The decision was chastised by President Obama who said the company “made a mistake” by pulling the film after the FBI concluded the North Korean government were responsible for the attack.
Sony subsequently put the film out on a limited theatrical release and distributed it online. The $44m budget comedy has now grossed $15m in digital sales, becoming the most downloaded film in Sony’s history.
“We have always sought the widest possible distribution for The Interview, and want to thank our new partners for helping us make that happen,” said Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton in a statement.
Private investigators examining the hack have cast doubt on the FBI’s findings on North Korea culpability. Researchers at Norse cybersecurity have claimed that six former Sony employees could be responsible, although the firm’s senior vice-president Kurt Stammberger noted the findings were “hardly conclusive”.
North Korea has denied it carried out the attack and called for a joint investigation between with the US to determine responsibility.
This article was written by Oliver Laughland in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 31st December 2014 21.09 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010