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Sony expands 'The Interview' to pay-TV systems, more cinemas

Bloomberg

Sony Pictures expanded its release of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview” to the largest pay-television services and to additional theaters after initial showings occurred without incident.

“The Interview” will be available starting as early as Wednesday on pay-per-view from 10 companies, including Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s video service. Prices start at $5.99, Sony Pictures said Wednesday in a statement.

The addition of pay-TV systems provides easy access for more than 78 million households, according to data from Bloomberg Intelligence. The film, a farce about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, led to a cyberattack that the FBI has linked to that country. Hackers released thousands of pages of confidential studio information on the Internet.

Dish Network Corp., the No. 3 U.S. pay-TV service with 14 million subscribers, wasn’t among the participating carriers listed by Sony. The satellite broadcaster, based in Englewood, Colorado, didn’t respond to requests for comment about why it’s not offering “The Interview.”

Sony Pictures, part of Tokyo-based Sony Corp., sought alternative outlets after major theater chains balked at running the film following a threat of violence from the hackers.

Theatrical distribution expands to more than 580 locations on Jan. 2, said the Culver City, California-based studio. Sony Pictures last week released the film in about 300 cinemas and online through Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc.’s iTunes platforms and a website the company created.

The picture, which cost an estimated $80 million to make and market, took in more than $15 million in online rentals and purchases in the four days after its Dec. 24 release, according to Sony. Rentrak Corp. reported theater ticket sales of $2.84 million through Dec. 28.

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