Services & Software

Apple nixes Sony's bid to bring 'The Interview' to iTunes, report says

In its quest to get "The Interview" on Apple's iTunes, Sony even sought help from the White House, according to the New York Times.

"The Interview" got its Christmas Day greenlight after all. Now the question is, when does the movie go online? Sony Pictures/Screenshot by CNET

The controversial film at the center of the hack that crippled Sony Pictures won't be playing on iTunes anytime soon, according to a new report.

In its quest for an online outlet for "The Interview," Sony Pictures even contacted the White House seeking its help -- specifically, to get Apple to offer "The Interview" on iTunes, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing people briefed on the matter.

The iPhone maker declined the request, at least "not on a speedy time table," the newspaper reported.

Late in November, a hack of Sony Pictures resulted in a massive and embarrassing spill of company secrets. Then, a week before the planned December 25 release of "The Interview," and following threats of violence against theaters showing "The Interview," the studio said it would cancel the release.

A comedy, "The Interview" depicts actors Seth Rogen and James Franco planning a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The FBI has said that North Korea was behind the Sony hack.

President Obama chastised Sony for the cancellation, as did many celebrities and would-be viewers.

On Tuesday, Sony did an about-face, announcing that it would release "The Interview" in theaters that wanted to show it -- likely more than 200 theaters. Sony also said that it's working on getting the movie into "more platforms and more theaters."

Apple's iTunes seems like an obvious choice to supplement the theatrical launch of "The Interview" -- it's widely available and actively used as a movie-viewing platform. According to the New York Times, the free service Crackle, which Sony Pictures owns, was not considered for the launch due to the inability to guarantee revenue. YouTube was also left out of the conversation.

Neither Sony nor Apple immediately responded to a request for comment.