Sony Pictures OKs ‘The Interview’ stream

"The Interview" may be coming soon to a computer screen or a theater near you after all.

Sony will release the controversial film online Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. ET, with $5.99 rentals from Google's Play store and YouTube platform, Google announced on Wednesday.

Microsoft's Xbox Video platform will also have the movie, as will a dedicated standalone website for the film.

"Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we'd be able to make their movie, 'The Interview,' available online," Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote in an official blog post.

"After discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be)," he said.

The Google-distributed film stream, expected on Wednesday afternoon, will come almost a full day ahead of the theater release.

Netflix is also in talks with Sony Pictures to stream the film to its subscribers—a few days after the Christmas Day theater release, Variety reported. Netflix declined to comment in that report.

Read More'The Interview' to be released online Wednesday

Earlier, Sony confirmed to CNBC that the company was in discussions to stream the film on Christmas Day, tentatively for its own website and Google Play or YouTube.

"The upside of it is they're going to have learned a ton, and I think we as an industry are going to have learned a ton about alternative distribution methods, especially in a world where content can be delivered to mobile devices instantaneously," Bubba Murarka, a partner at DFJ Venture, told CNBC's "Squawk Alley" following news of the YouTube distribution deal.

On Tuesday, Sony Pictures announced it will allow the movie to open in selected theaters on Christmas Day, despite threats and a devastating hacking that the United States blamed on North Korea.

After the announcement, Sony Pictures posted on its Facebook page a list of movie theaters in the United States that will show the film on Thursday.

Check out the list here

"The President applauds Sony's decision to authorize screenings of the film," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement. "As the President made clear, we are a country that believes in free speech, and the right of artistic expression. The decision made by Sony and participating theaters allows people to make their own choices about the film, and we welcome that outcome."

At a White House news conference last Friday, President Barack Obama called Sony's initial decision to pull the film a "mistake."

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"We have never given up on releasing 'The Interview,' and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day," Sony Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton said in a statement.

He added that Sony is continuing to "secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."

Lynton's statement came after Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas confirmed to NBC News that the Texas theater chain will run the film. Later in the afternoon the theater announced the film would come to 16 of its locations, including several in Austin, Houston and San Antonio, as well as one in Yonkers, New York.

On Tuesday morning "Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other arthouse and independent theaters across the country," Alamo CEO Tim League said in a statement. "This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression."

Read MoreSony: Let's be clear—'The Interview' isn't over

The Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta, Georgia, was one of the other theaters to first announce a showing.

"I'm glad there has been a change of heart," Plaza Theatre owner Michael Furlinger said on CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"Obviously we're going to be smart when it comes to security … as we would be on any major release that is controversial," he said, adding that he is "not overly concerned" about any threats.

Harkins Theatres announced on Twitter that it would release the film at its Phoenix, Arizona, location on Christmas Day. The theater's website also listed multiple showtimes for the movie beginning Thursday. A representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Los Angeles' Laemmle Theatres chain also said on its website and Twitter that it plans to open "The Interview" on Dec. 31. An earlier tweet said the firm had prior commitments on Christmas Day.

Co-director and actor Seth Rogen said in a tweet that "The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"

Lead actor James Franco also tweeted "VICTORY!!!!!!! The PEOPLE and THE PRESIDENT have spoken!!!"

Forrester analyst James McQuivey said the move was "too little, too late," to make Sony "look courageous" and that it should take the offensive in a cyberwar.

"Really the distribution plan is more of a token than anything else," he said. "If they really want to (be bold) they should put this movie on the Internet for free."

A group that claimed responsibility for the massive computer hack at Sony Pictures in early December demanded the company cancel the release of the film, a comedy that depicts an assassination plot against North Korea's leader.

Read MoreSony pulls 'The Interview'; the Internet reacts

Last Wednesday, Sony announced that it would delay the release of "The Interview" after major U.S. movie theater chains decided not to screen the film, citing safety concerns.

—With reporting by CNBC's Julia Boorstin. CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.