Hackers have informed Disney that they’ve stolen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and they’re threatening to release it should the studio not pay up.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that CEO Bob Iger informed employees of the hack on Monday during a town hall in New York. He says Disney won’t be paying the ransom.
The studio is currently waiting to see if hackers follow through with their promise to release the movie, which is due in theaters May 26. Though Iger didn’t reveal the name of the movie to employees, Deadline learned it’s Pirates 5.
“[The] hackers demanded that a huge sum be paid on Bitcoin,” THR says. “They are threatening to release five minutes of the film the first time and then in 20-minute chunks until their financial demands are met.”
Hackers are requesting to be paid via Bitcoin because the money can be sent to an anonymous source, thereby protecting the hackers from being identified. Disney is currently working with the FBI to investigate the situation.
Unlike the Orange is the New Black season 5 hack and subsequent leak (because Netflix refused to pay the ransom), the leak of a movie could seriously affect the film’s box office potential. The OITNB leak probably did not hurt Netflix, as subscribers are paying for a lot more than just the Jenji Kohan drama.
Why wouldn’t Disney just pay up to prevent the leak? If they do, it sets a dangerous precedent: The hackers would be rewarded for their work and will be encouraged to steal more of their movies to continue making big money.