(REUTERS) - Google's YouTube unit has tentatively agreed to distribute the Sony Pictures film The Interview, at the centre of a destructive cyber attack, offering online rentals beginning on Thursday, CNN reported.
The Internet release would coincide with the movie's showing at a small number of US theatres, CNN reported, citing sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
The deal could still fall apart, CNN said.
Representatives for YouTube, Google and Sony were not immediately available for comment.
Sony, which has lined up some 200 independent theatres to show the movie on Christmas day after major chains refused, said on Tuesday it was trying to secure other platforms so the movie could reach the largest possible audience.
No cable or satellite TV operator has yet agreed to make The Interview available through video on demand, however.
CNN said Sony has been looking at other distribution channels aside from YouTube, cautioning that the YouTube deal could still fall apart.
The studio also held talks with Apple about making the comedy available on its iTunes store, but the negotiations broke down, CNN said, citing two anonymous sources.