Dish Network Joins Systems Offering ‘Interview’ on Demand

Dish Network Corp. agreed to offer Sony Pictures’ “The Interview” on pay-per-view, making the controversial Seth Rogen comedy available on the largest U.S. pay-television systems.

The film, a farce about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will be available starting Jan. 2, Englewood, Colorado-based Dish said today in an e-mailed statement. It will rent for $5.99, Dish said.

Dish, the third-largest U.S. pay-TV service with 14 million subscribers, is the last of the leading companies to offer the film. “The Interview” started appearing yesterday on pay-per-view from 10 companies including Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s video service, Sony Corp.’s film unit said in a statement.

More than 80 million U.S. households now have easy access to the movie with Dish aboard, according to data from Bloomberg Intelligence.

The film led to a cyber attack on Culver City, California-based Sony Pictures that the FBI has linked to North Korea. Hackers released confidential studio information and personnel data on the Internet.

Sony Pictures sought alternative outlets after major theater chains balked at running the film following a threat of violence from the hackers.

Theatrical distribution expands to more than 580 locations on Jan. 2, Sony said yesterday. The studio released the film last week in about 300 independent cinemas and online through Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc.’s iTunes platforms and a website the company created.

The picture, which cost an estimated $80 million to make and market, took in more than $15 million in online rentals and purchases in the four days after its Dec. 24 release, according to Sony. Rentrak Corp. reported theater ticket sales of $2.84 million through Dec. 28.