Streaming release of ‘Interview’ is a test for the industry

ATLANTA (AP) — Unless they’re going straight to video, movies always open first in theaters to maximize the box office revenue — and then they’re made available in other stages of home video, streaming and television.

But not this time. Today’s release of “The Interview” in theaters comes a day after it was made available for purchase and for one-time streaming online, through several digital platforms — including Google Play, YouTube Movies and Microsoft’s Xbox Video.

It’s a unique situation — prompted by the hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the threat of terrorism against theaters showing the movie. Sony initially canceled today’s rollout, before reversing course.

But experts say the release will be closely watched within the industry, to see how moviegoers and theater chains react to the simultaneous debut — in theaters and online.

Analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations says the move makes sense for this film “because of the saga that goes along with it.” But he says it doesn’t necessarily represent the future of movie releases.

He adds, though, that it’s “nice to have a film we can actually use as a guinea pig for video-on-demand release.”

%@AP Links

007-r-15-(Excerpt from a trailer for the movie, ‘The Interview’)-“that people say”-Here is an excerpt of a scene from “The Interview” trailer. (25 Dec 2014)


006-r-10-(Excerpt from a trailer for the movie, ‘The Interview’)-“to North Korea”-Here is an excerpt of a scene from “The Interview” trailer. (25 Dec 2014)


APPHOTO CAET209: This photo released by Sony – Columbia Pictures shows James Franco, left, as Dave and Seth Rogen as Aaron in a scene from Columbia Pictures’ “The Interview.” (AP Photo/Sony – Columbia Pictures, Ed Araquel) (15 Nov 2013)


APPHOTO CAET204: A computer screen shows Sony Pictures’ film, “The Interview” available for rental on YouTube Movies Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014, in Los Angeles. “The Interview” became available for rental on a variety of digital platforms Wednesday afternoon, including Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and a separate Sony website, Sony Pictures announced. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel) (24 Dec 2014)


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