The Interview: Sony announces controversial film will be available to rent online from Christmas Day

The film is at the centre of a cyberattack scandal at Sony Pictures

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The Interview, the controversial comedy at the centre of a cyberattack scandal, will be available to rent on online platforms from Christmas Day, Sony announced today.

Viewers will be able to rent the film from Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video and a separate Sony website from Wednesday.

The online release of the Sony Pictures film will coincide with the movie's showing at a small number of US theatres.

Some 200 independent theatres are to show the film on Christmas Day, after major chains refused, following threats from hackers.

On Tuesday, Sony said it was trying to secure other platforms so The Interview could reach the largest possible audience.

However, no cable or satellite TV operator has yet agreed to make The Interview available through video on demand.

The studio also held talks with Apple Inc about making the comedy available on its iTunes store, but the negotiations broke down, CNN said, citing two anonymous sources.

If YouTube's plans go ahead, the deal will mark first the time a studio movie has be shown simultaneously in theatres and on demand.

Usually, larger studio films aren't made available on digital platforms for at least a few months after the initial theatrical release, to ensure maximizing theater box office.

The talks come after Sony Pictures said it was cancelling showings of the controversial film, in response to threats of violence from hackers which said cinemas would face 9/11-style attacks.

But Sony said yesterday that it would in fact show it in some cinemas, wining plaudits from President Barack Obama.

Additional reporting by Reuters