Sony is planning to release Seth Rogen’s controversial comedy, “The Interview” for free on its own streaming service Crackle, The New York Post’s Dana Sauchelli reports, citing unnamed sources.
A lawyer for Sony Pictures stated on “Meet The Press” Sunday that the film would be distributed, but he wasn’t yet sure how.
“The Interview” was scheduled for a Christmas Day release in theaters nation-wide. Sony canceled it after hackers threatened it and breached its servers, releasing 32,000 private email messages written by Sony executives.
Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Friday that his company did not “cave” to the pressure of hackers. Lynton said the film’s release was canceled because theaters came to Sony one by one over the course of a “very short period of time … and announced they would not carry the movie.”
Lynton says Sony had “no alternative” but to cancel the Dec. 25 theatrical release. He also stated that Sony was condering online alternatives for the release, including YouTube, but that it needed a distribution outlet to show the film.
Sony may have felt pressure to release the film after President Obama stated Friday that the company’s decision to cancel the showings was a “mistake.”
“What I was laying out is a principal that I think this country has to abide by,” Obama told CNN’s Candy Crowley after his Friday press conference. “We believe in free speech. We believe in the right of artistic expression and satire and things that powers that be might not like. And if we set a precedent in which a dictator in another country can disrupt through cyber a company’s distribution chain or its products and, as a consequence, we start censoring ourselves, that’s a problem … I expect all of us to remember that and operate on that moving forward.”
When asked why Sony didn’t release the film online when it canceled the theatrical release, Sony Pictures president Michael Lynton replied:
“There are a number of options open to us and we have considered and are considering them. While there have been a number of suggestions that we deliver this movie digitally or via VOD [Video On Demand], there has not been one major VOD distributor, one major e-commerce site, that has stepped forward and said they’re going to distribute this for us. Again, we don’t have that direct interface with the American public, so we need to go through an intermediary to do that.”
He did not mention Crackle.
Sony Pictures did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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