Google announced Wednesday that The Interview will be available to rent on YouTube starting at 1:00 PM EST. It will also be available for purchase through Google Play. In a blog post announcing the deal, Google even pointed out that it will be available to Xbox Video customers and at seetheinterview.com [Update: that URL now works properly as of 1:51 PM EST].
Absent from the places you can own or buy this movie is iTunes.
The Interview is a Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy about assassinating Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea. The film so upset Mr. Kim and his minions, the country hacked Sony and distributed several unreleased films, film scripts, and the personal information of many Sony employees.
Sony pulled the film after cowardly U.S.-based theater chains backed out of showing it in response to terrorist threats from the same North Korean hackers. Sony claimed it had no choice, but everyone and their brother, including President Barack Obama, criticized that decision as caving into terrorism.
To that end, Google made a point of saying that it was distributing the film, saying:
Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, "The Interview," available online. We'd had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.
Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).
The company also had a little fun on Twitter:
Our mission is to make the world’s information accessible—yes, even Seth Rogen movies. http://t.co/UihLmOJLwV— Google (@google) December 24, 2014
In short, North Korea has ensured that a low-budget farce about killing its pint-sized megalomaniac of a leader will be the most-watched film this Christmas.
Congrats to Google for jumping on this opportunity—it should have been on iTunes, too.