"The Interview" became available for rental on a variety of digital platforms Wednesday, including Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website, Sony Pictures announced.
The movie, released at 1 pm EST, costs $5.99 to stream and $14.99 to purchase. It also will open in over 300 theatres on Thursday.
The studio announced the on-demand release just one day after reversing a previous decision not to show the film at all after hackers released thousands of internal Sony documents and threatened moviegoers with violence. The decision not to release the film was widely criticised, with 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 Wednesday. "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."
White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama welcomed the news.
"As the president made clear on Friday, we do not live in a country where a foreign dictator can start imposing censorship here in the United States. With today's announcements, people can now make their own choices about the film, and that's how it should be," Schultz said.
The unusual release is unprecedented: Studios have released smaller indie and foreign movies simultaneously in theatres and on digital platforms, but never a mainstream film like "The Interview".
However, analysts said the situation with "The Interview" left Sony little choice.
"This isn't being done because Sony wants to do it regularly, but rather out of necessity prompted by the exhibitor boycott," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. "The only guys showing it are independent chains."
"Sony is in a delicate situation here since they normally never go this route with a major film, but theatre chains also know this is a unique back-against-the-wall situation," added Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com.
It's challenging to put a figure on how much Sony might benefit financially from releasing the movie on demand, Pandya said.
But he said all the attention "The Interview" has had over the past month has likely boosted the curiosity level for movie goers and will lead to "strong averages from the limited theatrical release plus solid VOD sales over the holidays." He expects the interest to fade away in early January.
Google showed its support with a post on its official blog, saying the company "could not sit on the sidelines".
"Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be). "
Lynton said the release represented the company's commitment to free speech.
"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," he said.
DUBBED by promoters as 'The Greatest One Night Show on Earth', Sting is arguably the most intimidating dancehall/reggae event.
That reputation does not deter Norwegian-born singer Orisha Sound, who makes her debut on the Boxing Day show this year at Jamworld Sports Complex in Portmore.
"I'm really looking forward to it, I get to share the Orisha Sound experience with the people," she told the Jamaica Observer.
Orisha Sound is promoting 1 Reggae, her second album, which was released in October. Most of the songs on the 11-track set were produced by Sheldon 'Shel-K' Williams.
They include World War Three (with Beenie Man), Embrace It (featuring Sizzla) and One More Night.
The 26-year-old artiste recently returned to Kingston from Europe, where she did club dates in Germany and Russia, to help promote 1 Reggae.
For much of this year, Orisha Sound has spent time trying to reach a mainstream Jamaican audience, performing on major gigs like the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival.
"I get a chance to bring my music to the people and hopefully they appreciate it. That means a lot to me," she said.
Orisha Sound (Orisha Pelzer) was born in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, to a Russian father and Brazilian mother. At age five, she moved with her parents to St Petersburg where she was classically trained as a musician.
Her musical tastes grew to include more commercial beats of hip hop and dancehall. Two years ago, she moved to Jamaica and began collaborating with Williams.
Embrace It, released last year, is her best-known dancehall/reggae effort to date. Her debut album, Cupid, was also released in 2013.
Bill Bonds, an iconic Detroit broadcaster who also worked for ABC stations in New York and Los Angeles, died Saturday. He was 82.
His longtime employer, WXYZ-TV, reported that the former reporter and anchor died after suffering a heart attack.
“For us Bill was so much more than the face on TV, the talented anchorman,” Bonds’ family said in a statement. “He was a wonderful husband and father who cared deeply about his children and his family. We will miss him greatly.
According to reports, Chakri was suffering from obesity related ailments. He did not respond when his wife tried to wake him up at around 6.30 a.m. on Monday.
Growing suspicious, she took him to Apollo Hospitals in Jubilee Hills, where doctors tried to revive him but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at around 7.45 a.m.
Auburn freshman football player Jakell Mitchell was shot and killed at an apartment complex near the Auburn University campus early Sunday morning.
Auburn Police responded to a call of shots fired at the at approximately 12:25 a.m. Sunday.
Mitchell, 18, was a passenger in a vehicle contacted leaving the Tiger Lodge apartment complex on West Longleaf Drive and found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to police.
He was rushed to East Alabama Medical Center and died after his arrival, according to the Lee County Coroner’s Office. An autopsy will be conducted in Montgomery.
Auburn released a statement Sunday morning from coach Gus Malzahn and athletics director Jay Jacobs.