Arr! The latest ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie is reportedly being held for ransom by real-life pirates.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, hackers have stolen a digital copy of an upcoming Disney release. Disney CEO Bob Iger says they’ve threatened to release the first 5 minutes of footage, followed by 20 minute leaks every time the ransom is not paid.
There was some early speculation that the film could’ve been a number of upcoming Disney releases, including a work print of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, Pirates makes sense as it’s already premiered in Shanghai, meaning a digital copy could’ve probably been obtained fairly easily (if you’ve computer savvy enough, that is.)
Disney is refusing to pay, but is working with federal investigators to track down the thieves.
Will this affect Pirates 5’s box office take?
I highly doubt it. Most average moviegoers don’t even know where to find torrents of released movies, let alone an unreleased film. Short of an unreleased film being broadcast on NBC, or making the front page of YouTube, it’s very unlikely that the average person is going to go through all the hassle of trying to track down the movie on the seedier parts of the internet.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is already tracking at a $90 million plus opening weekend, and I’m sure advance ticket sales account for a good chunk of that prediction.
Nah, Disney is safe.
The Perils of Digital Hollywood
With virtually all entertainment being 100% digital and transmitted online, there is much increased chance of hackers stealing and/or ransoming entertainment. Several studios, including Disney, are working with law enforcement to crack down on the issue but I highly doubt it will ever end media theft.
But this is the new reality Hollywood (and every other industry) has to deal with when all of our data is online and available with just a few (highly skilled) mouse clicks.