"The Interview," which was in its death throes last week, is coming to your living room.
Just one day after hundreds of independent movie theaters said they will show the controversial film on Christmas Day, Sony confirmed that it will distribute the film over Google's Play service and YouTube Movies, as well as on Microsoft's Xbox Video and a dedicated Web site — seetheinterview.com — run by Sony itself. The movie started streaming on YouTube on Wednesday at 1 p.m. — ahead of when it screens in many movie theaters.
Since Sony initially pulled the film's release last week in response to threats from hackers, there's been a wave of support to screen the movie — which, it should be said, is really not supposed be that good — as a demonstration of the freedom of expression. But making the decision to stream the movie online could put Sony at odds with the very movie theaters that championed the film yesterday. As my Post colleague Fred Barbash reported, at least one Detroit theater owner has already said that he won't screen the film if it gets a simultaneous online release.
“It’s not about principle or defending our First Amendment right, it’s about defending our business model," Paul Glantz, founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, told the Detroit Free Press.
Seeing the movie on YouTube and other streaming sites costs $5.99; the film is also available for purchase, in HD, for $14.99.
"It was essential for our studio to release this movie, especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech," said studio chairman and chief executive Michael Lynton. "We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day, and we continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release.”
Regardless of how you watch, there are now plenty of places to see the film. According to a post on the official Facebook page for The Interview, nearly 300 theaters are participating in the film's opening on Christmas Day, with 91 additional theaters expected to add it to their movie listings in the next couple of weeks.
In D.C., two theaters are on the list: the West End Cinema and the Angelika Pop-Up theater at Union Market.
West End Cinema has tickets available on its Web site for shows on Christmas Day and throughout the following week. But, according to a spokeswoman for the Angelika Pop-Up Theater, it was incorrectly included on the list of participating theaters and will not show "The Interview." (For now, anyway.)
Here are the other theaters, per the film's official Facebook page, that are showing the film around here.
Abingdon - 21st Century Cinemas 12
Ashburn - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - One Loudoun (Christmas Day shows are sold out, but there are showtimes for the rest of the week.)
Farmville - Sunchase Cinema 8
Hayes - York River Crossing Cinema
Manassas - Manassas 4 Cinemas
Martinsville - Hollywood Cinema
Norton - Cinema City Stadium 9 (calls to confirm showings, which are not on the Web site, were not returned)
Baltimore - Eastpoint Movies 10
Brandywine - Xscape 14 at Brandywine
Hagerstown - Leitersburg Cinemas
There are also many theaters adding showtimes in the coming weeks, including the "Kentlands Stadium 10" theater in Gaithersburg, which will start showing the film on Jan. 2.