You can now download The Interview from Apple’s iTunes in the U.S. and Canada. The release comes four days after the Sony Pictures movie was released on Google Play, YouTube, and Microsoft’s Xbox Video (but not on Sony’s own PlayStation Network).
Like on those platforms, iTunes is following the same pricing scheme: $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy. Recode was the first to report Apple joining the likes of Google and Microsoft in releasing the film for digital consumption.
Interestingly, The New York Times previously reported that Apple had told Sony Pictures it was not interested in offering The Interview on iTunes, “at least not on a speedy time table.” It’s not clear if Apple didn’t want to be associated with the controversial film or if it didn’t think it was worth the effort. Clearly the response from eager viewers and the media coverage ensured the company eventually signed on the dotted line.
Some would say it’s “too little, too late.” Then again, Apple is no small player in the digital media game. Even if the hype has passed its peak, the company undoubtedly believes it will still generate revenue from the flick, or it wouldn’t even bother. As such, this is likely also a case of “better late than never.”
The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists tasked by the U.S. government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea wasn’t too fond of this plan and, according to the FBI, managed to orchestrate a cybersecurity attack on the film’s producer Sony. Many security experts disagree the state was the perpetrator.
Regardless of who was behind the attack, thousands of sensitive Sony documents were leaked, several U.S. theaters refused to show the movie, and the company’s temporarily ceased plans to release it at all. After a presidential pep talk and lots of online support, the company reversed that decision and agreed to release The Interview at any theater willing to show it. Better yet, Sony Pictures decided to put the movie online on Christmas Eve, a day before the theatrical debut.
The online push continues:
— Twitter (@twitter) December 28, 2014
As we’ve noted before, we hope The Interview sets a precedent for online releases in line with theatrical debuts. Sadly we suspect it will still be seen as the exception, not the rule, for quite some time.