Releasing ‘The Interview’ on demand may be Sony’s best option

Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-17 17:35:52-05

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — “The Interview” got into trouble thanks to the Internet. But the Internet might be able to save it as well.

Late Wednesday, Sony canceled the film’s planned Christmas Day premiere in theaters. But there’s still a way to show the controversial Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy.

Sony could just release it on Netflix and via on-demand pay-TV services like Comcast.

“Sony should fight fire with fire: Make ‘The Interview’ available online, for free, on every pirate site in the world. In HD,” said Digital Disrupton author James McQuivey in a tweet to CNN’s Brian Stelter.

Plenty of studios release straight to streaming and pay-TV all the time, but usually with smaller, low-budget films. “The Interview” is expected to make big money at the box office.

For instance, the sequel to the 2000 hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is slated to be released simultaneously in theaters and on Netflix in August 2015.

Sony’s crisis may mean it has to test this release strategy, which many believe will be the future of film distribution, with a major movie.

But video-on-demand services may hesitate to show “The Interview” in order to avoid repercussions from the hackers.

And “The Interview” had a $44 million budget, which would be difficult to recoup without showing it in theaters.

Until now, major studios have mostly avoided releasing films in theaters and on demand on the same day.

But now that Regal, Cinemark and other theater chains have delayed the film’s opening, releasing it on demand may be Sony’s best option.

Sony and Netflix declined comment for this story.

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