Los Angeles, Dec 25 – Entertainment giant Sony streamed “The Interview,” the movie that has outraged North Korea for lampooning dictator Kim Jong-Un, giving an early online Christmas present to US viewers.
The madcap, irreverent R-rated comedy was available for rent in the United States from 1800 GMT on Wednesday, on several platforms, a day before a limited release in about 200 cinemas on Christmas Day.
It was being distributed on Google’s YouTube for a $5.99 rental fee, on the Google Play app for Android devices and on a dedicated website, seetheinterview.com.
A bawdy, expletive-laden tale full of sexual innuendo and scatological humor, the film’s future had been in doubt after Sony said it was canceling the release after an embarrassing cyber-attack on its corporate network and threats against moviegoers.
The US has blamed the hack attack on North Korea, and President Barack Obama has threatened reprisals.
But Sony had come under fire from Obama and free speech advocates for pulling the film, and the studio quickly performed an about-face.
On vacation in Hawaii, Obama, who had previously called Sony’s move a mistake, told reporters he was “glad it’s being released.”
While some US movie theater chains got cold feet after anonymous online threats, a limited number have agreed to show the film from Thursday.
– Question of free speech –