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Sony releases ‘The Interview’ across several digital platforms

Sony Pictures’ controversial comedy, “The Interview” will now be available to rent or buy online beginning today, the studio announced.

The movie is set to be released across several digital platforms, including YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and on Sony’s website at 1 p.m. EST Wednesday. It will cost $5.99 to stream “The Interview” or $14.99 to purchase it. The public now has the option to view the movie in theaters or via video on demand on the original release date, which Sony previously had scrapped altogether.

“It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film,” said Sony Pictures chair and CEO Michael Lynton in a statement.

“We never stopped pursuing as wide a release as possible for ‘The Interview.’ 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. 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.”

The plot of “The Interview,” involves the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and it has been at the center of the ongoing fallout from a cyberattack against Sony Pictures. The source of the attack, once thought to be caused by hackers in North Korea, is now being challenged by cybersecurity experts.

Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at CloudFlare, told the NewsHour on Tuesday’s broadcast that there wasn’t enough tangible evidence to claim that North Korea was responsible for the hack.

“[I]f you look at the evidence that the FBI passed out in its notice, on its own, it’s largely speculative and it’s not backed up by any really solid evidence,” he said.

“There are hints, however, that there may be things like signals intelligence and other information that they can’t disclose for national security purposes. Unfortunately, without being able to access that information, there’s no way for other security experts to really validate that,” Rogers added.

The studio’s decision to cancel the movie’s release amid mounting threats from the hackers even prompted a response from the president.

“Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced,” President Barack Obama said. “Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.”

Maybe now the president will host a screening of “The Interview” — starring Seth Rogen and “James Flacco” — in the White House family theater.

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