Sony expands 'The Interview' to pay TV, more theaters

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 31, 2014 1:45 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday added more viewing options for its controversial comedy "The Interview," distributing the film on demand through U.S. pay TV operators and expanding its reach in independent theaters.

The film, blamed for triggering a massive cyberattack on Sony's movie studio, will also be sold through Wal-Mart Stores Inc's digital on-demand service, Vudu, and will be available on Sony's PlayStation Network, Sony said in a statement.

On Dec. 17, Sony canceled the Christmas Day release of "The Interview" after hackers threatened violence against movie theaters and major theater chains refused to show it. Following days of criticism from Hollywood celebrities and President Barack Obama, Sony struck deals to launch the film in 331 independent theaters and through online distributors, such as Google Inc's YouTube Movies.

Starting as early as Wednesday, U.S. cable, satellite and telecommunications providers will make the "The Interview" available for rental through their video on-demand and pay-per-view services, Sony said. The providers include Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, Cox Communications, AT&T Inc's U-verse, Verizon Communications Inc's Fios and DirecTV.

Vudu and Verizon customers also will have the option to buy the film, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists recruited by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The movie also will play in more than 580 independent theaters starting on Friday.

Over the long Christmas holiday weekend, "The Interview" earned $15 million online in four days, before Apple Inc's iTunes started offering the film, and another $2.8 million in theaters.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)