Sony Pictures received a lot of public criticism, from the Obama Administration and the public, for its decision to pull "The Interview" from theaters ahead of its Christmas release. The company decided to push ahead and release the movie in a smaller number of theaters, while heavily pushing online rentals and sales.
There are now questions as to whether movie studios should begin offering movies directly to the Internet from day one - while also screening movies in theaters. It's not going to be an overnight change, as movie theaters still help produce increased revenue per viewer than online rentals or sales, industry figures indicate. However, this could help spur interest in movies from viewers that otherwise wouldn't go through the trouble of seeing a movie in theater.
"The floodgates are now open for digital distribution," said Roger Kay, technology analyst and founder of Endpoint Technologies Associates, in a statement published by the San Francisco Chronicle. "Yes, these were special circumstances, but they allowed the world to see there's no reason not to stream on day one. I think it will change movie distribution ever."