If there were any doubts about the near ubiquitous nature of Sony’s controversial movie, The Interview, they should finally be put to rest. Today in Netflix’s quarterly earnings report, the big red streaming site announced The Interview will begin streaming on Netflix starting Saturday, January 24.
After becoming available on nearly every video-on-demand platform in the land, the addition of Netflix makes for a royal flush of sorts when it comes to viewing options for the movie once thought to be lost to the viewing populace entirely. After the massive hack of Sony Pictures by North Korea, the company’s comedic farce about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was initially pulled from theaters under the threat of a terrorist attack on any theater that screened the film.
It seems just about everyone, including the President of the United States, had a bone to pick with Sony’s decision to pull the movie, which stars Seth Rogan and James Franco as Kim Jong Un’s would-be assassins. Not long after the initial announcement, Sony backtracked, announcing the film would land in select theaters on Christmas Day. The film later made its way to multiple platforms for on-demand viewing including YouTube, Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video Store, iTunes, and cable and satellite providers.
Even so, Netflix is claiming “exclusive” streaming rights for the film, which may mean that it won’t show up on competing streaming sources like Amazon or Hulu Plus.
While the release of The Interview so quickly after its theater debut may have come under unique circumstances, it could be the precursor to a new era of flexibility for theater releases. Netflix has already begun to buck the traditional status quo when it comes to theater releases with plans to show the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the site and in IMAX theaters simultaneously. Though that decision was met with widespread derision from the theater industry, Netflix appears to be pushing ahead, with future plans to release several movies in similar fashion each year.
Amazon isn’t far behind, recently announcing plans to release up to 12 movies in theaters each year, though the company will wait between 4-8 weeks before bringing the films to its streaming video platform.
Rare circumstances notwithstanding, The Interview is now available almost everywhere. And this Saturday it will land in your Netflix feed for free.