NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After a turbulent few weeks, fraught with cyber-attacks and threats allegedly from North Korea, Sony's (SNE) Sony Pictures on Wednesday released its movie The Interview online with theaters to follow on Christmas Day.
The movie, a satire about a scheme to assassinate North Korea's Kim Jong-Un, had a bumpy ride to its debut. Sony Pictures is letting viewers rent the movie online for about $6, or buy it for about $15, at its website, seetheinterview.com. The movie is also being made available through Microsoft's (MSFT) Xbox Video and Google's (GOOGL) YouTube Movies and Google Play. Certain independent theaters also plan to screen the movie on Thursday.
But would North Korea try to block online access to the movie? Apparently the country has legions of hackers at its disposal, yet they still suffered some mysterious Internet blackouts this week. Will North Korea's propaganda machine release saber-rattling videos of its military as a countermeasure to the movie?
Whether or not The Interview is actually any good almost does not matter at this point. The tug of war over its release made Sony's troubles with hackers a tangible issue.
Eric Wold, senior analyst with investment bank B. Riley, said in a research note Wednesday he hopes the squabbles over the movie will be a nonissue for theatergoers. However, he added in an email to TheStreet, the movie is likely to be released at a loss. "Given the amount of money that has been spent producing and marketing The Interview (reportedly as much as [$80 million to $90 million] globally), it would be impossible to recoup anything near that with a limited domestic release," Wold said.