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Sony wanted 'The Interview' on iTunes for Christmas, but Apple rejected fast timetable

In attempt to make its controversial film "The Interview" available to view on Christmas Day, Sony Pictures reportedly pursued a deal with Apple that was brokered by the White House itself, but the timetable to place it on iTunes was apparently too aggressive.

Sony's behind-the-scenes efforts to put the motion picture before the eyes of the public on its originally intended release date were revealed by The New York Times. Citing people familiar with the matter, it was said that Sony sought a singular deal with Apple, but the company "was not interested, at least on a speedy time table."

Apple declined to comment, but the report claimed that Sony had actually asked the White House for help in brokering a deal.

Other potential technology partners were said to be concerned that they could become hacking targets if they were to release the film, which depicts actors Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists instructed to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea.

Offended by the premise of the movie, hackers said to be from North Korea compromised Sony Pictures Entertainment and threatened to attack theaters that played the film. That led major theater chains to announce that they would not be showing the movie on its opening day of Christmas, even though the U.S. government said there was no credible terrorist threat.

Sony responded by canceling the release of the film, which drew sharp criticism from free speech advocates, including President Barack Obama. The pressure compelled Sony to investigate avenues for releasing the film on its originally intended opening day, which apparently led to the White House brokering talks with Apple that didn't pan out.

In the end, "The Interview" will see a limited release at selected cinemas on Dec. 25 after all. In particular, the group Art House Convergence has agreed to play the film at about 250 small theaters around the U.S.