Scrapped Seth Rogen/James Franco film ‘The Interview’ could get YouTube release

Sony Pictures cancelled the film's US cinematic release following an apparent safety threat

Seth Rogen and James Franco’s scrapped comedy film The Interview could be released after all on YouTube, according to Sony Pictures’ chief executive.

The controversial movie had been due to open in US cinemas on Christmas Day, but Sony Pictures cancelled its release last Wednesday (December 17) in the wake of an apparent safety threat – a decision which has since been branded “a mistake” by US President Barack Obama. Future plans to distribute the film on DVD and VOD have also been put on hold.

However, Sony Pictures’ chief executive Michael Lynton told CNN on Saturday (December 20): “We would still like the public to see this movie, absolutely. There are a number of options open to us. And we have considered those, and are considering them.”

Asked whether YouTube could be used to give the film a release, Lynton replied: “That’s certainly an option and certainly one thing we will consider.”

The US release of The Interview was scrapped following a threatening message sent on Tuesday (December 16) by the so-called “Guardians of Peace” – the group which claims responsibility for hacking into the computer systems of Sony Pictures earlier this month (December). The message from “Guardians of Peace” invoked the attacks of September 11 in warning cinema-goers not to attend screenings of the film.

“Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. If your house is nearby, you’d better leave. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment,” the written message said.

Rogen and Franco had already pulled out of several planned US TV appearances to promote the film, in which the pair play celebrity journalists who land an interview with North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong-Un, but are instructed by the CIA to assassinate him.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the recent hacking of Sony Pictures, but branded it a “righteous deed” that its “supporters and sympathisers” may possibly have helped to perpetrate.