Sony: 'The Interview' available to view online

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Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Wednesday that 'The Interview' will be available to view online. (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Ed Araquel)

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Wednesday that "The Interview" will be available to view online.

Beginning at 10 a.m. PT on Christmas Eve, the film will be available to rent in HD on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and for $5.99. Those who want to own the movie can buy it in HD for $14.99.

The news comes a day after Sony reversed its decision and announced that the controversial film would be released on Christmas Day after all, though it would be to select theaters.

"This is essentially unprecedented," said Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer.

"The theater chains like to maintain a window of four months of exclusivity, but what they're getting here is one day," Handel added.

Sony had canceled the Christmas release of the movie following threats from hackers against theatergoers. The film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

Rogen tweeted Wednesday, thanking Sony for releasing the movie and recommending people to watch the movie in theaters.

U.S. officials blame the North Korean government for the hacking attack, which resulted in the disclosure of confidential Sony emails and business files. The situation escalated after hackers threatened terror attacks against U.S. movie theaters that showed the film.

Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton said his company reached out to Google and other partners last week when it became clear that Sony would have to change its original plans for the release.

"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," Lynton said. "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 says more than 300 theaters across the U.S. will show the film starting on Thursday.

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