One week since Sony Pictures announced a limited theatrical and VOD release for The Interview, after initially canceling the comedy following terrorist threats, the studio has announced plans to expand the comedy into 580 theaters starting January 2, nearly 250 more than the initial 331-theater roll out. The Interview, which is also available on Google Play, YouTube Movies, XBox Movies and SeeTheInterview.com, will be added to the VOD lineups of cable TV providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House Networks, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS TV, Charter Communications, Cablevision and AT&T U-verse TV. The film will be available for rental starting today, December 31, on these cable providers for $5.99.
The Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy will also be available through Wal-Mart's VOD service, Vudu, and the Sony Playstation Network starting January 1. Vudu and Verizon users also have the option to buy the digital version of The Interview, in addition to the $5.99 rental. Here's what Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton had to say in a statement regarding The Interview's expansion.
"We have always sought the widest possible distribution for The Interview, and want to thank our new partners for helping us make that happen."
As for the 250 additional movie theaters that will show The Interview this weekend, they are all independently-owned, like the initial 331 theaters that first debuted the comedy on Christmas Day. Shortly after the hacker group Guardians of Peace (G.O.P.) issued a threat to movie theaters which planned on showing the comedy, the top five theater chains in North America decided not to release the film, leading to Sony Pictures pulling the plug on the release. The studio reversed its stance less than a week later, announcing a limited theatrical and VOD roll out.
The plot follows a TV journalist (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogen) who are tasked by the CIA to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (Randall Park). We reported earlier this week that The Interview has already earned $15 million from online sales and rentals, plus an additional $2.8 million from the limited theatrical release. Sony hasn't released an official list with the additional theaters screening The Interview this weekend, but we'll keep you posted as soon as more details come in.