HACKERS who claim to have stolen a blockbuster Disney movie are now threatening to release it, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger.
At a company town hall on Monday local time, Iger didn’t mention the movie’s title but told staff hackers are asking for a large bitcoin payment to keep the film under wraps.
It’s not believed the incident is related to the WannaCry ransomware attack, which has infected 12 Australian businesses along with hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide.
Disney’s next two movies are Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on May 26, and Cars 3 on June 16.
But the studio’s list of upcoming films also includes Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15, which is expected to be one of the top-grossing movies of 2017 after its predecessor, The Force Awakens.
Hackers have threatened to release the entire title in five minute snippets and could follow through after Iger vowed Disney wasn’t going to pay. The saga is eerily similar to the recent high-profile leak of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black.
Hackers breached the security of a Hollywood-based post-production company that counts Netflix as well as a number of other studios as its customers. The hacker first tried to strong-arm the post-production company but eventually targeted Netflix with ransom demands.
Netflix apparently didn’t budge and ten episodes of the still-unreleased fifth season of Orange Is the New Black were released to the public on torrent website Pirate Bay last month.
It’s unclear whether the two incidents are connected.
Pirates of the Caribbean: ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ – Extended Look. Courtesy: Disney Movie Trailers
The hackers that leaked Orange Is the New Black claimed to have also gotten their hands on at least three dozen additional TV shows and movies and have since released another Netflix original movie.
Several other Hollywood studios have been targeted by hackers in the past, including the disastrous Sony Pictures hack of 2015. During this incident, a hacking group leaked confidential data including personal information of employees and copies of unreleased Sony films.