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Starz releases 'The Interview' back to Sony: Source

The sudden and unique distribution of "The Interview" has caused a breakdown in the normal schedule for home video broadcast.

According to a person familiar with the matter, premium cable network Starz has released the film back to Sony to give the studio "maximum flexibility" as it copes with the hacking scandal that prevented normal distribution in theaters. Under an agreement that will last the next several years, Starz normally picks up major Sony films several months after they hit theaters and broadcasts them to its subscribers.

The person said Starz may ultimately buy the film back but it's unclear if those discussions will ever take place. Starz and Sony couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier Wednesday, Sony released "The Interview" on multiple web sites including Google's YouTube video streaming platform. The film is available for rent at $5.99 and for digital purchase at $14.99.

Normally, movies wouldn't be available for home video purchase for a few months after theatrical release. Sony chose the unconventional approach after most major theater chains decided not to release the movie on Christmas Day as scheduled amid mounting terrorist threats.

Sony was the target of a hacking attack that the U.S. government has blamed on North Korea. The subject of the film is a scheme to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.