Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger revealed Monday that hackers claiming to have access to a Disney movie threatened to release it unless the studio paid a ransom, Joinfo.com reports with reference to The Hollywood Reporter.
Iger didn’t disclose the name of the film, but said Disney is refusing to pay. The studio is working with federal investigators.
Iger’s comments came during a town hall meeting with ABC employees in New York City, according to multiple sources.
Disney’s upcoming theatrical release slate include Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which opens Friday, and Cars 3, set to bow June 16. Rumors circulated online last week that a work print of Star Wars: The Last Jedi had been pirated and was being held for ransom, but days later online chatter tipped that rumor as a hoax. The studio had no comment.
The Disney chief said the hackers demanded that a huge sum be paid in Bitcoin. They said they would release five minutes of the film at first, and then in 20-minute chunks until their financial demands are met.
While movie piracy has long been a scourge, ransoms appear to be a new twist.
The ransom demand of Disney comes only weeks after a hacker uploaded 10 episodes of the upcoming season of Orange Is the New Black to The Pirate Bay after Netflix refused to pay an undisclosed amount. The episodes were posted on Pirate Bay six weeks ahead of the series’ official June 9 launch.
Several Hollywood agencies have also been targeted by hackers with extortion plots in recent months, including UTA, ICM and WME.