By the time it finishes its run, controversial Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview may not have seen the inside of many theaters, but it will have been available on just about every streaming platform known to man. Apparently feeling that the film has made all the money it’s likely to make on on-demand platforms likeYouTube and GooglePlay, Sony announced yesterday that The Interview would be moving on to a limited engagement on subscription-based platform Netflix, and then to Sony’s own streaming platform, Crackle.
Starting this week, Netflix subscribers in the U.S. and Canada will have the option to watch the movie that so enraged North Korea that the country MAY have declared covert cyber war on Sony Pictures, triggering one of the biggest entertainment stories of the year. Journalists are still poring over the massive amount of documents and emails released when hackers claiming affiliation with the reclusive North Korean regime split Sony wide open, revealing the inner workings of the company to the embarrassment of its executives.
In the wake of that event, major theater chains were reluctant to show the films, fearing that they too might become the target of cyber-attacks. After a period of waffling about what to do with the seemingly radioactive movie, Sony reached an agreement to release the film on demand through GooglePlay and YouTube On-Demand. Despite being the subject of widespread piracy, the film did manage to bring in an estimated $31 million from legitimate rentals. That makes the film Sony’s most successful digital release, but it’s not nearly enough to offset the cost of production let alone the huge losses Sony incurred due to the hack.
Sony has yet to set a date for the film’s premiere on Crackle, but it isn’t expected to be until 2016 when the Netflix deal runs out. Some, including myself, have questioned why Sony would be so shy about bringing the movie to their own streaming platform, going so far as to announce early on that no streaming services had “stepped up” to show The Interview. Hacked emails revealed that Sony was considering selling Crackle to raise some extra cash even before this latest series of disasters, so perhaps they simply wanted to avoid lowering its value.
Time will tell if The Interview ever appears on Crackle, but in the meantime, anyone with a Netflix subscription can check out the most talked about movie of the year starting this Saturday, January 24th.