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The Interview available to stream

The Interview will be available to rent on a variety of digital platforms including Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website from today.

Seth Rogen's North Korea-based film, set to be released on demand at 10am Pacific Standard Time in the US (6pm in the UK), will cost 5.99 US dollars (£3.85) to stream. It will also open in about 200 cinemas in the US tomorrow.

The studio announced the news just one day after reversing a previous decision not to show the film at all after hackers threatened movie-goers with violence. The decision not to release the film was widely criticised, with US President Barack Obama one of Sony's harshest critics.

"It has always been Sony's intention to have a national platform on which to release this film," said Sony Pictures chair and CEO Michael Lynton in a statement today.

"Negotiations with digital providers began last Wednesday, and, as of this morning, the film will be available in around 300 independently owned theatres starting Thursday.

"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.

"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."

The unusual release marks one of the first times a studio movie will be shown simultaneously in cinemas and video on demand. Usually, larger studio films are not made available on digital platforms for at least a few months after the initial release in cinemas, to ensure its box office potential is maximised.

"This release represents our commitment to our film-makers and free speech," said Mr Lynton. "While we couldn't have predicted the road this movie travelled to get to this moment, I'm proud our fight was not for nothing and that cyber criminals were not able to silence us."

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