The Interview gets Canadian online release
North Korea says it likely will have no 'physical reaction' to release of the film
The Interview is now available in Canada for rent or purchase online.
"Canada!!! You can now watch The Interview! Please enjoy," Canadian actor Seth Rogen, one of the film's stars, tweeted Christmas Eve. "It was made in your country."
The online release will include the following sites:
The controversial comedy will also be available for rent on its own dedicated website at a cost of $6.99.
Sony says it is seeking other partners and platforms for an even wider release.
Sony Pictures had earlier announced the film would also be available for rent or purchase online Wednesday, but only in the U.S. That announcement came a day after it said The Interview would be screened in indie U.S. theatres starting Dec. 25,
"It was essential for our studio to release this movie," said Sony Entertainment's chief executive, Michael Lynton, in a statement, "especially given the assault upon our business and our employees by those who wanted to stop free speech."
Sony's sudden U-turn
The announcement is just the latest in Sony's abrupt U-turn over the release of the Vancouver-born Rogen's satire on North Korea.
Sony pulled the movie last week after hackers linked to North Korea threatened violence if it didn't, and major theatre chains decided not to screen it.
Then suddenly on Tuesday, Sony authorized the release of the movie to some 200 independent U.S. theatres with screenings beginning on Christmas Day.
That's down from an original planned release of 3,000 cinemas nationwide.
A Sony representative told CBC news that the entertainment company was looking at releasing the movie in Canadian theatres, but there were no screenings planned for Dec. 25.
Although the film is available online for Canadians, U.S. cinemas are showing The Interview that are within driving distance for passport-holding Canadians — including the Palace 9, in Burlington, Vt., which is offering free popcorn to any moviegoer who brings a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Here are some of the closest, by province (including approximate driving times):
- Stanwood Cinemas 5, Stanwood, Wash.(1 hour, 50 minutes from Vancouver).
- Ark Lodge Cinemas, Seattle, Wash. (3 hours from Vancouver).
- Plaza Three Cinemas, Oak Harbor, Wash. (2 hours from Vancouver).
- Grand Theater 6, Williston, N.D. (3½ hours from Regina).
- Fargo Theater 2, Fargo, N.D. (3½ hours from Winnipeg).
- Phoenix Theatres State-Wayne, Wayne, Mich. (30 minutes from Windsor).
- State Theatre, Ann Arbor, Mich. (51 minutes from Windsor).
- Tower City Cinemas, Cleveland, Ohio. (2 hours, 41 minutes from Windsor).
- The Dunkirk Movieplex 59, Dunkirk, N.Y. (1 hour, 15 minutes from Niagara Falls).
- Dipson Flix 10 Stadium, Lancaster, N.Y. (45 minutes from Niagara Falls, starting Dec. 26).
- American 5, Canton, N.Y. (1 hour from Cornwall).
- Merrill’s Roxy, Burlington, Vt. (1½ hours from Montreal).
- Palace 9, Burlington, Vt. (1½ hours from Montreal, starting Dec. 31).
- Hollywood Cinemas, Bangor, Me. (3 hours from Saint John).
- Caribou Cinema 4, Caribou, Me. (2 hours from Fredericton).
Theatregoers are advised to confirm listings and times before heading out this holiday.
The Interview stars Rogen and Hollywood actor James Franco as American tabloid TV journalists. But their plans to interview North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un are derailed when they're recruited to assassinate him.
The plot also angered the North Korea government, which condemned the film for months and called the cyberhack against Sony a "righteous deed."
In a Twitter message Tuesday, Rogen expressed relief that his long-awaited project will finally be seen by audiences.
"The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up!" said Rogen, who also wrote the screenplay for the film.
Meanwhile, North Korea said it likely will have no "physical reaction," just condemnation, to the release of the film.
A North Korea diplomat to the United Nations told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his country opposes the film's release online and in over 300 U.S. theatres this week. But diplomat Kim Song said his country has no relation to the hacking and can prove it. He also expressed frustration that the U.S. refused North Korea's offer of a joint investigation.
He called the film an "unpardonable mockery of our sovereignty and dignity of our supreme leader."