Sony made “The Interview” available online on Wednesday, a day before the picture hit a series of certain theraters, after last week’sÂ decision to pull offÂ the film’sÂ release following a massive cyberattack.
The comedyÂ was available for rental on popular video service YouTube as of early Wednesday afternoon. Microsoft Corp and Sony Etertainment itself are also showing the movie, a day before its scheduled premiere at some 320 independent theaters.
“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,” Sony Chief Executive Michael Lynton said in a statement.
He went on addingÂ that the filmmakerÂ had first reached out to Google, Microsoft “and other partners” on Dec. 17, the day the studio said it was canceling the movie’s Christmas Day release.
“The Interview” which features Seth Rogen and James Franco reveals a fictional story about the assassination North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
This plot had triggered the most massiveÂ cyberattack ever to target a U.S. company, resulting in the release of hundreds of embarrassing emails and confidential data.
Sony announced its decision to cancelÂ the release of âThe Interviewâ.
âSony has no further release plans for the film,â a Sony spokeswoman said on Wednesday when asked whether the movie would be released later in theaters or as video on demand.
Sony came under immediate criticism for the decision to pull the movie.
âWith the Sony collapse, America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very, very dangerous precedent,â said former Republican House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich in a Twitter post.
In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called the hack against Sony âvery serious,â but suggested authorities have yet to find any credibility in the threat of attacks against theaters.
âFor now, my recommendation would be that people go to the movies,â Obama said.
American officialsÂ announced last weekÂ that they hadÂ determined thatÂ the government of North Korea was linked toÂ the hack that left Sony Entertainment Pictures reeling and eventually prompted it to pull a movie critical of the countryâs leader.
However, itâs stillÂ unclear about the nature of North Koreaâs involvement. The country, while lauding the hack against Sony, has previouslyÂ denied being behind it.
The U.S. official confirmed that intelligence authoritiesÂ have indeed determined North Korea was behind the hack, one of the worst cyberattacks ever against an American company.
The New York Times, citing senior Obama Administration officials,reportedÂ that intelligence officials had determined North Korea was âcentrally involved.â
NBC News, also citing unnamed U.S. officials,reported that the Americans believe the hacking came from outside North Korea itself, but that the hackers were acting on orders from Pyongyang.
âThe hack exposed reams of company data, including employeesâ emails and salaries,â Sony reported at the time.