Real-life pirates who are reportedly holding an unknown Disney movie hostage are now threatening to leak it if a ransom is not paid, Disney CEO Bob Iger says.
Mr Iger did not reveal the movie’s title at a meeting of the company’s staff on Monday (US time), but told employees that hackers are asking for a large bitcoin payment to keep the film under wraps.
However according to media speculation, hackers have stolen a copy of the highly anticipated film Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is scheduled to be released on May 26.
The hackers have threatened to release five minutes of the film and then the entire title in 20-minute snippets until their demands are met.
But Mr Iger has vowed Disney would not pay and is reportedly working with federal investigators to find the culprit.
Disney isn’t the only studio similarly threatened in previous weeks, with the recent high-profile leak of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black.
Hackers breached the security of a Hollywood-based post-production company that counts Netflix, as well as a number of other studios, as its customers.
The hackers first tried to pressure the post-production company, but eventually targeted Netflix with ransom demands.
Netflix apparently didn’t budge and 10 episodes of the still-unreleased fifth season of Orange Is the New Black were released to the public on torrent website PirateBay last month.
It’s unclear whether the two incidents are connected.
The hackers who leaked Orange Is the New Black claimed to have also obtained at least three dozen additional TV shows and movies and have since released another Netflix original movie.
If it is the fifth Pirates instalment that hackers have, the leak could be a big blow for Disney.
The company spent more than $300 million just to make the blockbuster film, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Rumours also circulated online last week that a work print of Star Wars: The Last Jedi had been pirated and held for ransom, but was later deemed to be a hoax.
The studio did not comment on the matter.
Disney’s next two movies scheduled for release are Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on May 26, and Cars 3 on June 16.
– with AAP