*Netflix is in talks with Sony Pictures to stream “The Interview” to its subscribers, reports Variety.
If a deal can be worked out, the film would not be available on the day of its Dec. 25 release in theaters, but would likely stream on the service within a few days.
Netflix declined comment to Variety. It’s understood that Sony execs screened the movie for Netflix execs in recent days, the trade reports.
Meanwhile, Sony this morning announced a group of online distributors that made the movie available for rental today (Dec. 24) starting at 10 a.m. PT: Google Play, YouTube Movies, Xbox Video and the website SeetheInterview.com for $5.99, or $14.99 for an HD version.
A Netflix deal would also give the movie a broad platform to be seen by the netcaster’s’ 53 million global subscribers. But a Netflix airing also raises questions about how that would impact the movie’s traditional pay TV exhibition window, as Sony Pictures has an output deal with Starz.
Starz has declined comment on the matter as the unprecedented disruption in the movie’s planned release schedule has made the situation very fluid. However, it’s understood that the pay cabler has been leaning toward not taking the movie if it gets broad VOD and streaming distribution prior to its regular pay-TV window, which would kick in about 10 months after the movie hit theaters.
Sony is not believed to be in talks with any other SVOD service — meaning no Hulu or Amazon — for the movie, reports Variety.
“The Interview” has become a cause célèbre among free speech advocates after a threat from hackers linked to North Korea spurred major theater chains to back out of showing it and Sony to scrap its Christmas Day theatrical release.
But on Monday and Tuesday, a number of indie theaters came forward with offers to screen the movie, allowing Sony to save some face and proceed with the Dec. 25 bow, albeit in about 300 theaters rather than the nearly 3,000 that had been set for the wide release, before the unprecedented cyber attack masterminded by North Korea sent the studio and the movie’s prospects into a tailspin.