Sony to Stream 'Interview' With Ads on Crackle

Film's Unusual Release Continues

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James Franco in 'The Interview.
James Franco in 'The Interview.

Sony Pictures plans to stream "The Interview," the controversial film about North Korea, for free on its advertiser-backed Crackle online TV network.

"The Interview" has endured an unusual path to release, to say the least, after threats led major theater chains to shun it, only for independent films and digital venues to begin offering it in late December.

"We are proud to be the first to distribute the film directly to consumers in the ad-supported window," Eric Berger, executive VP of digital networks for Sony Pictures Television, said Wednesday in a statement.

He did not say when the movie would make it to Crackle, but most movies on the service appear to have had longer lead times before arrival than "The Interview" likely will, and lower profiles as well. Browsing movies from this decade on Wednesday yielded 14 options, including "Searching for Sugar Man," the well-regarded 2012 documentary, and "Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star," the panned 2011 comedy.

"The Interview" could arrive on Crackle as soon as next year, a person familiar with the situation said.

With the debut on free internet TV, Sony is expanding distribution beyond the limited theaters and pay-per-view outlets the company turned to after major exhibitors balked at showing the comedy.

Netflix said yesterday it would stream the film to its subscribers.

~ Bloomberg News with Ad Age staff ~