Disney CEO Iger Says Hackers Claim They Stole an Upcoming Movie
Walt Disney’s recent historical run of movie blockbusters appears to have attracted some unwanted attention from cyber thieves.
Disney CEO Bob Iger reportedly told company employees on Monday that hackers are claiming to have stolen one of the company’s unreleased movies and are demanding a huge ransom. The Hollywood Reporter cites multiple anonymous sources who say that Iger made the comments at a town hall meeting for employees at Disney-owned ABC in New York City.
The Disney CEO did not reveal the name of the stolen film, or the amount demanded by the hackers, but Iger reportedly said Disney will not pay the ransom. THR adds that the hackers, who reportedly want the large sum to be paid in the digital currency bitcoin, are threatening to release the movie online in installments if they are not paid. Disney is cooperating with federal investigators and the company is waiting to see if the hackers follow through on their threats to release the film.
Fortune reached out to Disney for comment and we will update this article with any response.
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Disney’s next two theatrical releases are the Johnny Depp-starring swashbuckling sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26), and the Pixar animated sequel Cars 3 (June 16). Both films are follow-ups to highly-profitable movie franchises and could be among the highest-grossing movies of the summer. But Disney’s list of upcoming films also includes Star Wars: The Last Jedi (hitting theaters December 15), which is widely expected to be one of the top-grossing movies of 2017 after its predecessor—2015’s The Force Awakens—set box office records by earning more than $2.1 billion worldwide.
So far in 2017, Disney has been the most successful Hollywood studio, with a more than 22% share of domestic box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo. The live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast earned more than $1.2 billion in global movie ticket sales following its release in March, while Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy sequel that hit theaters earlier this month has already pulled in more than $630 million worldwide.
In other words, Disney may not be revealing the name of the film that was reportedly stolen, but chances are high that any unreleased Disney movie is a pretty valuable asset. Last year, Disney became the first-ever Hollywood studio to top $7 billion in global movie ticket sales in a single calendar year.
The news follows last week’s massive global cyber attack known as the WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected hundreds of thousands of computers in countries worldwide, including the U.K.’s hospital system. It was not immediately clear if that attack is connected to the stolen Disney movie. Several other Hollywood studios have been targeted by hackers in the past, including the huge Sony Pictures hack of 2015. Hackers also recently stole the upcoming season of Netflix’s original series Orange is the New Black and uploaded new episodes of the show to The Pirate Bay after Netflix refused to pay an undisclosed ransom.