You can now download or stream The Interview from iTunes in the US and Canada. It costs $5.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy, the same price as other outlets. But the iTunes release is a few days late: Sony released the film on YouTube, Google Play Movies, Xbox Video, and a dedicated website, as well as a number of independent movie theaters around the country, on Christmas Day.
A person familiar with the matter tells The Verge that Apple's delay was due to a "logistical" issue. A number of factors likely contributed to this: Apple's offices are officially closed for the holidays, and the Christmas period brings particularly high demand to iTunes. Pushing The Interview live, especially as the exclusive distributor for the film, likely would have increased that strain. Sony Pictures also required a very quick turnaround: the company announced on December 17th that it had no plans to release the film, only to put the film online and in select theaters just a week later.
Apple needed more time
Apple was one of the first outlets Sony Pictures sought out to distribute The Interview, according to a report last week from The New York Times, but the company apparently wasn't ready to release the film — "at least not on a speedy time table." Sony reportedly turned to the White House for help, but iTunes wasn't on board when the film went online last week. At the time, it wasn't clear if Apple didn't want to be involved with the controversial film or if some other issue got in the way of a partnership.
In an emailed statement, Apple simply notes that "We're pleased to offer The Interview for rental or purchase on the iTunes Store."
Update, 2:09PM ET: Added Apple statement and additional information on the delay.