Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger has announced that a group of hackers claims to have stolen a copy of an upcoming Disney film (the title was not revealed) and plan to release it unless the studio pays up. However, Iger says he’s refused to do so. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company is now working with federal investigators on the matter. Deadline now reports that the film in question is (ironically) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
UPDATE (5/25/17): On the eve of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ debut, Bob Iger is now saying the company was not hacked and that he believes the threat may have been a hoax. He told Yahoo Finance, “To our knowledge we were not hacked. We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required. We don’t believe that it was real and nothing has happened,” he said. However, he added, “in today’s world, cyber security is a front burner issue.”
Iger made the announcement at a town hall meeting with ABC employees in New York today. He says the hackers demanded a large sum of money be paid to them in Bitcoin, an unregulated digital currency. The hackers also apparently said they’d release five minutes of the film at first and then distribute 20-minute clips thereafter.
This plot may sound far-fetched, but Netflix actually just suffered a similar threat. Hackers accessed 10 of 13 upcoming episodes of Orange is the New Black and also demanded ransom. When Netflix refused, the shows were uploaded to torrent sites ahead of the program’s June 9th debut. That said, it’s unclear if the two incidents are related or whether the Disney hackers could be bluffing.