Movie-goers wait in line outside the Los Feliz 3 Cinema in Los Angeles
Los Angeles - AFP
Sony Pictures said Wednesday it had expanded distribution of the controversial comedy "The Interview" to include more theaters and video-on-demand platforms, after hackers threatened to attack cinemas screening the film.
From Friday, a total of 580 independent theaters will show "The Interview" -- a madcap satire about a fictional CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
Threats by hackers issued after a November cyberattack on Sony Pictures initially prompted the movie giant to cancel the film's Christmas Day release, after many large US theater chains got cold feet.
The United States has blamed North Korea for the cyberattack, but Pyongyang has vehemently denied any involvement.
The comedy, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, eventually opened on December 25 in more than 300 independent movie houses that offered to show the film after Sony came under fire for pulling it.
It was also made available last week on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and on a dedicated website, www.seetheinterview.com.
Sony said the film would now also be available from Wednesday either as video on demand or pay-per-view via major US cable and satellite providers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS
The film price starts at $5.99.
"The Interview" will also be available on Sony's PlayStation Network from Thursday.
"We have always sought the widest possible distribution for 'The Interview,' and want to thank our new partners for helping us make that happen," said Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton
So far, the film has earned a combined $18 million in online rentals or purchases, as well as theater ticket sales, since its release.