Sony Distributes 'The Interview' Online Through YouTube and Google Play

PHOTO: From left, Diana Bang, Seth Rogen, and James Franco are pictured in "The Interview." PlayEd Araquel/AP Photo
WATCH Sony Pictures, Movie Theaters Work to Release 'The Interview'

Sony announced today that "The Interview" will be available online today via Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and a site, for $5.99 rental on all platforms, $14.99 for purchase in HD.

The streaming started at 10 a.m. PT and 1 p.m. ET.

“It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film,” said Sony CEO Michael Lynton in a release to ABC News. “With that in mind, we reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners last Wednesday, December 17th, when it became clear our initial release plans were not possible. We are pleased we can now join with our partners to offer the film nation-wide today."

Lynton said his company never stopped "pursuing as wide a release as possible" for the film that looked like it was dead as of last week when all the big move chains like AMC and Regal had backed out of showing the film due to hacker threats.

"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,” he continued.

He thanked Google and Microsoft for their commitment to "free speech."

"While we couldn't have predicted the road this movie traveled to get to this moment, I’m proud our fight was not for nothing and that cyber criminals were not able to silence us," he added.

The statement closed by stating that in addition to online, "'The Interview' is also being released in more than 300 United States theaters on Dec. 25.

Google's chief legal officer David Drummond wrote in a blog post, "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," Drummond wrote. "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)."

After the news broke, the film's star Seth Rogen tweeted "Thanks Sony for making it happen. Booyah."

Franco added, "Merry X-mas MERICA!!!!!!THE INTERVIEW IS LIVE!!!!!...Thank you SONY!!!!!!!!"